If you remember your Old Testament history, the "wilderness wanderings" had a fairly ominous overtone. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years because the "grownups" of the nation were afraid to enter the Promised Land. This was in spite of God's assurance that he was giving it to them. So, they meandered about the harsh Judean desert to wait for those faithless people (who had just observed the 10 plagues and the taken part in the crossing of the Red Sea a few months earlier!) to die off! Then, the land of promise was to go to the younger generation.
What is miraculous to me about all of this is that God chose to provide for those faithless whiners (Read the book of Numbers) all through those 40 years! Had I been in God's place, I'd have smitten (grammar check, anyone?) the whole bunch at the border of Canaan! Yet he kindly provided water, (and water sweetener) manna, and quail, as well as protection to a bunch of ungrateful snots. And suddenly, I run smack into a mirror of myself! Do you?
Is it any wonder that Sukkot is called "The Season of Rejoicing"?