“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” Hosea 2:14
Often times we look at the wilderness as a place to be frightened and worried. It’s the unknown, after all – it’s a place we don’t know. We don’t know how to navigate it and we don’t know what we will face.
Most times we will enter a season of wilderness like the Israelites, thinking that God is punishing us and that we are wandering because we’ve done something wrong. We think that in our disobedience, we are punished by being in a place before the promised land. A place that is a second rate version of God’s goodness because we weren’t good enough.
Sometimes I wonder if maybe the wilderness is where Jesus is leading us to show us His love the most. It’s a place where He can captivate us, show us His glory, and be alone with us.
We don’t see the wilderness this way because we are missing the forest for the trees, literally.
We see every mistake, every wrong step, and every fear as God telling us that we aren’t with Him anymore, that He has left us.
The wilderness is a place for Jesus to entice us, draw us near Him, and love us – which is why you will be attacked the most in the wilderness.
The wilderness, while filled with the most beauty, is also filled with the most danger.
The enemy has quite a consistent pattern in our he attacks us.
He first leads us to believe that we are here out of disobedience, that this foreign place exists because we do not deserve to be near Jesus anymore, we are screw ups.
He then leads us to believe that it is our job to get us out of this mess. That we must find a way out of the wilderness, on our own, and that’s the only way that we will be safe.
So we go off on our own. We stop trusting Jesus and we trust ourselves.
The problem with the enemy, is that his promises look right. They seem trustworthy.
Much like a deep deep hole in the ground that is covered up my brush, our deepest and darkest struggles can be revealed when we follow the enemy’s truth instead of our Father’s.
The root of our sins can be covered up very easily. A trap never looks like a trap, that’s kind of the point. Similar to the root of our sins can be hidden by grass and brush, we think the hole is filled. We think it’s safe ground to step on.
It’s not until you step on the bush and fall in the hole do you realize just how deep that hurt is. You fall in the hole again and you see that you are not okay, that while the surface of the sin has been healed, the deepest parts of your heart still yearn for something more.
It is here, in the hole in the ground, that you are truly in the solitary wilderness that you imagined. It is here, in the hole of your heart, that you see just how deeply your pain goes.
The most beautiful thing about this place is that you cannot get out by yourself. It’s deeper than you and stronger than you and only calling for help will get you out.
Our sweet Father is the only way.
And the beautiful thing is once you’re out, you’re out. You are back with our merciful king – dancing in the flowers, jumping in the fields.
And you see, the fear has turned into faith and the scared has been turned into the sacred. That the wilderness isn’t a place for us to find the right way, but for God to find us.
To romance us, love us, and show us His glory. Yes it’s unknown, usually the best things are.
And maybe you are alone in that wilderness because maybe that’s the only way you’ll see Jesus.
Maybe beneath the canopy of trees you’ve never seen, you’ll stop seeing this place as foreign but see it as a place to be discovered.
A place for our God to capture your heart again, to lead you to His promises by showing you that He is faithful even when it seems like He’s not there.
Sometimes we have to get away from the people in our lives and the distractions of our lives to enter the stillness of our King. Sometimes He just wants to talk to us and sometimes that means the beauty of the wilderness.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.”
Maybe you gladly lie down in pastures, usually I’m forced there. Forced to the wilderness and forced to be still. But my soul is always refreshed and for that, I’m always grateful to my King.
I hope you’ll rethink your wilderness today. Let Jesus find you there.
Keep loving well,