The Israelites’ 40 years of wandering may be seen as a metaphor for the Christian life.
Although the Israelites were released from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, their journey to the Promised Land was not an easy or a short one.
Between freedom (conversion) and the Promised Land (as a successful, victorious, happy, contented, peaceful, joyful Christian perhaps?), there is often the experience of the Wilderness during which we must learn to be fully dependent on God, learning to trust and obey while He graciously provides.
Only as we persevere to pass through the Wilderness are we able to enter into the Land of Promise.
This may not be your experience – some people seem to pass without incident from conversion to the ‘Abundant Life’ while some of us find it much harder to learn, harder to trust, harder to submit and to obey.
On the other hand, hard times are guaranteed in one shape or form or another – all of us experience sadness, loss and bereavement amongst other griefs, and not only is perseverance required but it is just these times that God uses to draw us deeper into Him.