Desert. Wilderness. Renewal.

I knew my heart was in a wilderness.  A desert.  

It was dry.  It was quiet.  It was lonely.  It was numb.  Purposeless.  Empty.

Yet somehow, I knew in the depths of my being, it was being drawn in even farther.  I did not want to go to that place.  The experiences of the moment were heavy enough.  I fought with all my might to stop the process of entering the wilderness even farther.

 I didn’t stop to consider if it could be that this time, this calling even farther into the wilderness, was for my own rest, refreshment, restoration and renewal.   
Hosea 2:14-15  (AMP)  …I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart.  There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor [troubling] to be for her a door of hope and expectation. And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth…
Had I not discovered that it is in the desert, the wilderness, where angels attend and minister? (Mark 1:13)

Was it not in the wilderness that the Israelites experienced some of the most miraculous of God?
"The Israelites didn't leave Egypt and instantly arrive in Canaan. In fact, the Lord sent them the scenic route. Scenic? Oh, I know it was the barren wilderness, but think of what they saw and heard along the way- the parting of the Red Sea, manna falling like rain, rock-gushing streams, victories against troubling factions, fire by night, the thunderous voice of God, and so on. They witnessed the miraculous. Who would have wanted to miss that?

Actually, even with all my attempts to arrive speedily, it has been the things I've seen, heard, and experienced along my life journey that have been faith producing. Why, it was in the wilderness years that I witnessed the Lord's deliverance up close and personal. During those years I was aware of his hand parting my fears, of his nurturing provision for my shriveled soul, of his refreshment for my parched existence, of his direction for my wayward feet, and of his voice counseling my confused heart. It was quite literally miraculous, and as long and as hard as those years were, I would not have wanted to miss what I experienced of God."                  ~~Patsy Clairmont

When I stopped my running, calmed my panic, and ceased my whining long enough to consider these possibilities... I resolved to turn and walk forward.  To pause and listen closely to the tender voice calling me away.  To stop struggling and to settle into pace as I took off deeper into the dryness.  The quiet.  The lonely.  The numbness.  What seemed the potential finalization of my soul...

Only once there I began to discover... A stream deep within this desert.  A place of quiet, not to seclude, but to allow for rest.  Deep, satisfying, healing rest.  A companionship and honesty found with my Lord who accompanied me there.  When all other voices ceased, when I silenced my own voice, it was then that I began to hear His.

And in the moments that I wasn't hearing anything, I began to notice even the beauty and comfort of silence.  Just trusting that He had brought me to this place.  Discovering it to not be a place of punishment, but rather a place of His protection and His provision.  A place to linger.  To refresh.  To restore.

Not that the call to future times in the wilderness will come any easier, any quicker, or any clearer.  But I trust that the memory of this, my most recent journey to that place will surface and remind me that not every moment in a wilderness leads to destruction.

What about you?  Are you sensing yourself heading into a personal wilderness?  Maybe you're already there?  Or, maybe like me, not only are you there and have been for some time... but you are being drawn farther into it.

I encourage you.  Stop fighting.  Stop working.  Stop the pleading for the mountaintops, rivers and cool breezes.


Perhaps... just perhaps, He himself is calling you deeper into the quiet... where He can speak tenderly to your heart as only He can.  Deeper into the dryness where He alone can bring refreshment.

Where He can trade your valley of troubles for hope and expectation.  Where He can bring back the songs to your heart as in the beginning days with Him.  Where His angels can attend to you and where His miracles can be performed for you.

Do you dare to risk taking the journey into the wilderness with Him escorting and leading the way?  You just may find a renewal you never would have dreamed.  

And maybe that alone is the miracle of the wilderness journey...

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