It grows deep in the bones.
It hollows out the daily joy.
It brings pain.
It brings loneliness.
It brings heartache.
And yet, it's the only path to growth.
The Wilderness is the place where God does God's best work on us. In our lives, on our character, on our egos, and in our desire and need to be connected to a Source greater than ourselves (or the mud pies we are often too often content to be eating, as Lewis once said).
I've been in a season of Wilderness Time of many years now. It's been difficult and painful and full of grief. There have been days I've begged God for this season to end.
Several years on now, I can also see the shape of the growth that has been taking place, in a way that I couldn't see at the beginning.
New branches of joy. New shoots of wisdom. New foliage of a non-anxious presence.
Wilderness Time has a way of clearing off that which we have come to rely on that isn't God. Wilderness Time invites us to emptiness, so that we can begin to find the goodness of God again, and not in our own counterfeit idols that masquerade as goodness. The the REAL LIVE thing that IS Goodness.
Wilderness Time has a way of drying one out, and leaving one with nothing left from whence you came. Your pockets empty. Your dreams broken down. Your spirits crushed.
Wilderness Time will deplete one all of one's resources, so that one MUST begin to turn to the Sustainer of Life in order to be resourced once again.
The alternative is addiction, numbing, misplaced desire, and destruction.
In the Wilderness one will find that destruction is inevitable. One can either choose the path of destruction that God has laid out for them, or one can make their own path of destruction.
Only one of these paths leads to new life.
If you're in a season of wilderness, take heart. Perhaps God is growing new things in you that you simply cannot see just yet.
Like the ground outside my window, which is frozen, and covered in two feet of snow, you already have everything you need to bring forth the goodness of new life. We're simply waiting for the right conditions to come around so that you can begin to bloom in a new way.
Perhaps, God is inviting you into a deeper connection to the Divine Presence that is all around you, sustaining you, nourishing you on the way. Perhaps this connection is what will facilitate the right conditions for your flourishing?
The Wilderness is brutal.
Life is brutal.
Waiting for new life to take root can be so brutal.
But the Wilderness is FULL of surprises.
May you be surprised today by what God has invited you into.
And, one day, may you find the Goodness that is already present in the very Wilderness that you find yourself in today.