The desert is an arid, scorching, frightening place where everything portends death. But at the same time it is also a place of rest, gentleness and life.
In the desert you find friendliness and hostility, anguish and joy, sorrow and exultation, trial and triumph. The desert is the land of malediction and the land of benediction. The desert can be hard and merciless. You might die of thirst there, but if it rains you could be drowned. In the desert nature manifests itself in its extremes: prodigal fertility and cruel barrenness...
The desert can be tomb and cradle, wasteland and garden, death and resurrection, hell and heaven.
Thus in the desert you will find that God is simultaneously present and absent, proximate and remote, visible and invisible, manifest and hidden. He can receive you with great tenderness and then abandon you on the cross of loneliness. He consoles you and torments you at the same time. He heals you only to wound again. He may speak to you today and ignore you tomorrow.
The desert does not delude and least of all does the desert delude those who accept it in its two-sided reality of life and death, presence and absence. Nor will they be deceived by God who calls them to the desert. God never abandons us.