Wonderful Wilderness

Thursday, November 30th, 2023

As of 6:30pm last night I still was not sure what I was supposed to write for a blog today. While I was doing dishes (where God and I have many conversations) I asked God what He wanted me to say. He responded, “Tell them how much I love them.” As I pressed in more, He brought me to a familiar verse, Hosea 2:14-16:

14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. 15 I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. 16 “And it shall be, in that day,” says the Lord, That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer call Me ‘My Master,’

I don’t honestly remember the first time this passage spoke to me, but I remember the love and healing that flooded my broken heart. I had spent much of my life in my own wilderness, but it was not one like this. Numerous circumstances and poor responses on my behalf had brought me to some pretty low places in my life. Uncertainty, anxiety, a broken identity and a heart that was unwilling to receive the love of the Father had left me in a cycle of substitute love, disappointment and frustration. But God’s wilderness is not like this. Wilderness according to Webster’s 1828 means: “a desert; a tract of land or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings.” No one else can bring us to the wilderness that God is calling us to. We have to desire it and seek it out for ourselves. We cannot be distracted or half-hearted in our attempts to get there. It’s a place meant for only us and God.

I get the sense lately that we are in a fresh season of God wooing us into the wilderness with a new sense of urgency. Everything around us seems like it is crumbling to pieces. Our financial system, political system, education system, health system and on and on are being led astray by the powerful, money-hungry few. It’s becoming more and more important for us to stop trusting in or finding our worth in any of these places. God is alluring us into His secret wilderness where only He can love on, minister to and fill us. The interesting thing about this wilderness is that it’s a place we can get to anywhere. We can be stuck in traffic, exhausted at the end of a weary day, just beginning an uncertain day, rejected by those we thought we could trust the most, or drenched in our own puddle of tears. We don’t have to pack a bag to get to this wilderness or take a long plane ride. We simply have to say, “Jesus, meet with me.” From there He will speak comfort to us. He will trade our trouble for hope. He will turn our sorrow into singing. He will bring us back to when we had found our first love and experienced the flood of exhilaration.

We all have our own Egypt, and most likely more than one of them. Those places that held us captive. Those places that we called home but felt so foreign. Our body felt stuck there, but our spirits longed to be free. Perhaps we even thought that was where we were supposed to be, until we got a taste of freedom under our wings. We often don’t see how trapped we are until we see the jail cell we left behind. This is what this passage is saying. God wants to be the opposite of all the dark, scary and lonely things we have experienced in this world. People for too long have thought they could find true love, healing and wholeness apart from God, but that’s not how we were designed. Until we can humbly accept this fact, we will be wandering around in a wilderness, but it won’t be the one God knows is best for us.

Final Thoughts…

While it’s impossible for us to fully understand God’s love, it doesn’t mean we should stop trying. When He says, “Tell them how much I love them,” it’s because He knows how important it is for us to hear those words above all the other noises in this universe. God isn’t just hoping we make it through this life in order to get to heaven. He wants us to experience heaven on earth now. He wants us to desire His secret wilderness like we need food and water. He wants us to give Him the chance to speak comfort to us. He longs to hear our songs of deliverance, pain, hope, desperation and gratitude. He doesn’t want us to just see Him as the person we serve and please. He wants us to see Him as a spouse. The one we run to when we are broken and empty, ecstatic and overflowing or anything in between. Take some time today to sit in silence and listen for God to tell you how much He loves you. Find His secret wilderness and let it be the only perfect place in this imperfect world. Time spent there is never wasted. Everything else in life is a dimly lit candle compared to the weighty glory of being in the presence of God.