Don't Despise the Wilderness
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
In recent decades, the variety of types of holiday that people can experience has widened considerably. You can holiday in cities, on beaches, visit vineyards or battlefields.You could go on cruises, safaris or visit national parks, botanical gardens and even rum factories!
And then there’s the accommodation. This could vary from, ‘overwater bungalows’ to castles, luxurious pool villas to log cabins, mansions to county homes, the list is endless. Noticeably absent from these popular destinations are vacations in wastelands and deserts! There are no prizes from guessing why this is the case. These places are usually uninviting, dry, barren, hot, austere, inhospitable, harsh, forbidding and uncomfortable places. Who wants to holiday in Wilderness World?
However, it’s interesting to note some major incidents that happened when God took people aside into a wilderness, a desert; it was there that he spoke to them.
Moses was one of these people. Moses, a shepherd, was tending the flocks in the wilderness when God spoke to him from a burning bush and commissioned him to set the children of Israel free. Later in Moses life, God would visit him again in a wilderness, this time the wilderness of Sinai, and give to him the Law that would help lead and guide the children of Israel.
One day, weary, depressed and wanting to die, Elijah found himself in a wilderness. It was in that place of pain and aloneness that Elijah heard the ‘still small voice’ of God which gave him the direction he needed for the next phase of his life.
Notice that in each case, the wilderness became a place of God speaking. Physically barren but spiritually overflowing with goodness.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. (Hosea 2:14)
There are times in life when we find ourselves, spiritually, in a wilderness. The wilderness can be the result of some kind of loss, crisis, tragedy, loneliness, conflict or hardship. We naturally shrink from the wilderness. “God, take us anywhere but the wilderness!” But God has higher, and deeper plans for our wilderness sojourn. It is there that He wants to speak to us, to reveal Himself to us in depths we did not find when we lived in our land of comfort and plenty. God wants to take us to a place where, as Isaiah puts it,
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. (Isaiah 35:1,2)
Are you willing to endure the dry, harsh, forbidding, painful journey through the wilderness? If you do, you won’t regret it.
Pauline Ann Anderson
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