"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her." Hosea 2:14 NKJV
While listening to the testimony of Jefferson Bethke, I was reminded of a verse in Hosea chapter two that I had read before, "Behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness." My mind immediately went to my nights alone outside with God in the darkness. The wilderness can symbolize a place of wondering, a place of darkness, a place of pain. Webster's Dictionary defines it as a region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings, an area essentially undisturbed by human activity, an empty or pathless area, or a bewildering situation.
I can identify with this verse because I know what it feels like to be led into a bewildering situation, my personal wilderness. Here in my wilderness I feel that it s uninhabited by other humans. I know the feeling of aloneness that the wilderness brings. As for a pathless area, the wilderness can definitely engulf you and make you feel as though there is no path that leads out of it.
So why would God purposely lead someone into the wilderness? Well, the rest of the verse says that He will bring her into the wilderness to speak comfort to her. But why would God choose an uncultivated, uninhabited place to bring comfort? Why would He take you to a pathless area to show you comfort?
Well, if you're a girl who carries a backpack instead of a purse, a girl who owns no makeup, and a girl whose idea of fixing her hair involves a ponytail, then you might see the wilderness differently. There is a beauty found only in the wilderness.
There are billions of stars in the sky, and yet many people never see them. They are there all the time, but most people never notice their beauty. During the day the brightness of the sun hides them They're there just like they are at night, but you can't see them. Even at dusk only the brightest ones can be seen. To really see them you have to wait until full darkness had come, and even then you must be still and linger for awhile. Then you start to see them, and the longer you look the more that you will see.
You see, there are some things you can only see in the dark. Light is beautiful. It symbolizes God and all that is good. Light brings sunshine and happiness, clarity and serenity. But if you never experience darkness, you miss the beauty of the stars. There are things you can only see in the dark. Sometimes God brings us to darkness, to the wilderness so that He can show us what we miss in the light. He leads us to an uninhabited area, undisturbed by human activity, so that when we get still and look long enough, He gets to show us His stars.. It is there in the wilderness that He speaks comfort. Even while in the middle of a bewildering situation, He can cause us to be still long enough to catch a glimpse of those glimmering lights strewn against the canvas of a dark sky. The longer we sit quietly with Him in the darkness, the more stars we begin to see and the comfort comes. In the dark stillness of night in the middle of the wilderness, He speaks comfort in a way that we miss in the light. There is an intimacy with God that only comes in the wilderness.
It's me again. I know what it is that You are waiting to hear. Just one word that's all. But that one word is hard to speak, especially when you're a Jesus Girl who knows that to speak it without meaning it would be worse than not speaking it at all. You have been careful to show me glimpses of what that word could mean for me if I speak it. Although it has been painful, I am thankful that I got to see where this journey might lead and tastes of how my heart may feel when it does. You didn't have to do that, but I am grateful.
Anything. You want to hear me say it. You want me to mean it. God, I really want to be able to say it. I want to mean it with all of my being, but I have to be ready. You and I have come too far in the last couple of years for me to even think about making a half-hearted commitment to You. If I say anything, then I must mean it with everything that I have.
God, saying anything means everything. It means that I stop holding on to those things I cling to and hand them over to Your keeping while I stand with hands empty and open. We sing it and say it, but that's hard to do. It's hard to stop gripping the door facing and jump. But that's what You want. And You are waiting.
In saying anything, I am giving You everything. I must surrender my personal dreams and plans for they are not to be. All those things that I thought You were planning to bring about are not at all what You had in store for this little family of mine. It seemed so obvious and yet it wasn't really. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around what I think You are asking. It's going to be harder for those around me to understand it.
I must surrender my children for in speaking the word I am waging a spiritual battle in which they face attack. The best way to get to the mother is to attack her children. God, I have focused so hard on their protection. I have grown to understand what it means to be that she bear that protects and defends without counting the cost to herself. You are asking me to place them on the altar. You are asking me to follow You in such a way that could sacrifice who they are and what they may become. You love them more than I do, but I am their mom and my Creator made me in such a way that I would die to protect them. Placing them in harm's way is difficult at best.
I must surrender my marriage. This journey will be difficult not only for myself and my children, but for my husband as well. For to share my journey, I must share his. You haven't promised that this journey will be easy and when you are already sitting in a painful place the unknown can appear even more scary.
And God, no one is going to understand this. I already know too well what it feels like to be alone. This path that You are asking me to walk will look different to others than what it actually is. I've already tasted it. I get the feeling that some are waiting for me to hit the altar and make things right with You because they do not understand this place where we are. Like You and I could have gotten where we are by spending a couple of minutes on a carpeted altar. This journey has required hours of prayer, sometimes face down on a brick retaining wall or in the wet grass, on a picnic table, or in the fetal position in the floor for nights in a row. What we must look like, You and I. I fear the picture most see is not at all accurate. I think about Hannah praying to You so intensely that she appeared to be drunken. I understand that depth of prayer, and I understand that it can be easily misread.
But God, even with knowing all that. Even after the added pain of this last week cementing what I already feared to be true. Even in this place alone, I am compelled to answer. I am compelled to answer You in the only way that I know how. I have to give it all to You, no matter the cost or the pain involved.
And so I speak the word that You have waited so long to hear...ANYTHING. This life of mine belongs to You, not me. Whatever it is that You want for me. Wherever You ask me to go. You are mine and I am Yours. Forever. For always. No matter what. That's what You're asking for, and my answer is ANYTHING.