Return To The Wilderness

Redefining the Wilderness

Dearest Reader,

More often than I’d want you to know (Because I need a lot of course correcting!), I feel a nudge in my spirit to course correct—a nudge to detour off the beaten path. Today is such a day. Several things, the Holy Spirit, John’s gospel, and a post from the past led us here.

The past eleven months have been hard. More physical challenges, another diagnosis, doctor’s appointments, labs, loss of energy, and overwhelming pain have taken me deeper into the wilderness. I’ve wrestled with anger and resentment, felt jealousy, all the while praying no bitter root would grow in my heart. I have negotiated, I’ve pleaded, and begged for mercy. Still, there was more. One trauma, one disappointment stacked one on the other, has sent me reeling.

I’m not alone. You are not alone. We are sitting in the middle of the messiest, most convoluted, confusing year in my lifetime. We are confused, dismayed, frightened, and more isolated than ever before. Toss in a chronic illness, loss of jobs, face masks, social distancing, hard is harder. Hard feels harder, and pain is deeper, shattering the pictures we’ve painted of what life should be. Our hearts and souls, and our lives are suffocating in overwhelm and chaos. The things we’ve held tightly-we now hold loosely.

But God!

Return to the wilderness came to me in the pre-dawn darkness. 

Returning to the wilderness found me with my Bible opened to the gospel of John.

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, ‘John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.’ And many believed in him there.” John 10:40-42 

In this passage, the Jewish religious leaders did not like what Jesus had to say. Their way of life would’ve needed to change had they believed Jesus was the Messiah. Therefore, they chose not to believe. The religious leaders planned to stone Jesus.

As a result, Jesus escaped.

Jesus returned to the wilderness. 

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained.”

Why I pondered, why in the unholy hard would one, the ONE, go back to the wilderness? Furthermore, what did returning to the wilderness accomplish?

In short, three things.

  1. Jesus returned to where his ministry began. He returned to the place where God proclaimed, “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased.” Perhaps on this day, in his humanity, Jesus craved the reminder of his divinity. Just as you and I, Jesus needed a reminder of who he belonged to, who he was, and is, and is to come. His true identity is revealed in the wilderness.
  2. Accordingly, many followed.
  3. And, many believed.

What is the purpose of my return to the wilderness mean? What does it mean for you?

Above all else, the wilderness beckons us into our Father’s arms. Long seasons of suffering send us running to our Savior. We are pushed to a place of abiding. Our hearts are furrowed as a field, torn open, in places only God can reach.

Furthermore, we are most nourished when abiding. Abiding produces a harvest.

Abiding is Beholding who God is. When we abide, our deepest wounds will be touched by Jesus. 

A personal note:

My calendar is riddled with doctor’s appointments, tests, and a biopsy over the next two months. Hence, I will be away from my desk, abiding, and resting. Taking time to nourish my heart and soul. I pray this time of nourishment will bear much fruit.

Lastly, I will return in January and resume Delight In His Word. In the meantime, you can catch up here

I hope you will join me in Delighting In His Word amid suffering and affliction!  If you are not a regular subscriber, subscribe and receive weekly installments of Delight In His Word to the right of this post.

Your Wilderness Guide,