Fr. Dale Matson
"I will make a Ezek 16:60; chapter 20:37; chapter 37:26covenant of peace with them and Job 5:22, 23; Is 11:6-9eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may Jer 33:16; Ezek 28:26; chapter 34:27, 28live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.” (Ezekiel 34:25).
While I live in a large city, Fresno California, I am also blessed to be within one hour of both Yosemite and Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks. I believe it is no accident that God is frequently depicted as being in the mountains or the wilderness. Although many of you may have gone on a spiritual retreat, probably fewer of you have actually spent time alone in the wilderness. It can be a singular experience to hear only the sound of your own breathing and the sound of your own eardrums. The wilderness can be stunningly beautiful and also brutally and tragically unforgiving if you are there unprepared. Be properly prepared for the mountains make their own weather.
The wilderness in Scripture is referred to often. It can be a location where God’s people are tested and learn obedience. “How often they Ps 95:8, 9; chapter 106:43; chapter 107:11; Heb 3:16rebelled against Him in the wilderness and Ps 95:10; Is 63:10; Eph 4:30grieved Him in the Ps 106:14desert!” (Psalm 78:40).
The wilderness can also be a judgment from God “I will Ezek 32:4-6abandon you to the wilderness, you and all the fish of your rivers; you will fall on the open field; you will not be brought together or Jer 8:2; chapter 25:33gathered I have given you for Jer 7:33; chapter 34:20; Ezek 39:4food to the beasts of the earth and to the birds of the sky.” (Ezekiel 29:12).
The wilderness is also a state of barrenness we are brought to, where we once again yearn for God. “O God, Ps 118:28You are my God; I shall seek You  earnestly; My soul Ps 42:2; chapter 84:2; Matt 5:6thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a Ps 143:6dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1).
The wilderness is a place for a fresh start. “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness  Acts 13:24preaching a baptism of repentance for the Luke 1:77forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4).
The wilderness is also an intentional destination where there is an expectation of encountering God. “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and Matt 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12pray.” (Luke 5:16).
The wilderness is even a place where we can discover grace. “Thus says the LORD, “The people who survived the sword Num 14:20found grace in the wilderness--Israel, when it went to Ex 33:14; Num 10:33; Deut 1:33; Josh 1:13find its rest." (Jeremiah 31:2).
Whatever reason that may appeal to you, consider the possibility of time spent alone in the wilderness. It’s not just a destination. Amen