Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why The Wilderness Is Never A Waste

I was reading and doing some meditating on a passage of scripture as I am finishing up this new 90 day devotional that I am putting together and I came across a passage that truly rocked my socks.

It was in a very unlikely place that I would have gone to for a passage to put in the devotional, but what stood out to me was absolutely beautiful! Don't you just love it when God uses something that seems so ordinary to speak so loudly?

Before I take you to the passage, I would like to share with you a definition that comes from The definition is for the word WILDERNESS.


1. a wild, uninhabited, and uncultivated region  
2.any desolate tract or area        
3. a confused mass or collection
4. a voice in the wilderness, a voice crying in the wilderness, a person, group, etc, making a suggestion or plea that is ignored       
5. in the wilderness, no longer having influence, recognition, or publicity
In the scripture analogies, a wilderness is often always associated with a bad thing. By definition, it is a place of desolation.
The children of Israel wandered in a wilderness because of their disobedience to God in taking refusing to take ownership of the promised land. Moses wandered the wilderness after killing an Egyptian, and when you hear people talk about the "Wasted years" of their life it is often referred to a time of wilderness wandering. It is a time where you don't seem to be accomplishing anything productive in comparison to what you could accomplish if you had a fixed purpose or destination to reach.
It seems to be the same thing as wasted time. It is a place of idleness and desolation, and it is a place of regret and waste.
I have experienced wilderness seasons of life spiritually and over the last several years Father has been teaching me to understand these times in a better light.
Let me show you a powerful passage that Father showed me this past week.
"Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee." ~Song of Solomon 8:5
I love this passage!!!
The story of the Song of Solomon is one of the most beautiful that I have ever read and when God began to open things up to me within that book I knew that He wanted me to write the devotional entirely from this book. It speaks of a different love than most of us feel that God has for us and it has been absolutely transformational for me in the process of putting this together.
The story is between a shepherd girl and a king but it also symbolizes Christ and His church (You and me).
In earlier passages we find this girl leaving on a search and finding the King, but here she is returning to where she was from AFTER she has met the King.
She is walking out of the wilderness and she is not the same person that went into the wilderness. 
She went into the wilderness as a Shepherd girl of commonality and emerges from the wilderness as queen of royalty. 
She went into the wilderness alone with only what she did as her source of identity, just a shepherd girl. She comes out of the wilderness with a companion and a new identity that has been established because of the relationship that she now has with her companion.   
She went into the wilderness relying on herself and emerged now leaning in dependence upon the King.
She went into the wilderness as she was and emerged as what she was meant to be.

I guess I wanted to write this post because I believe that there is someone who will read this that has been hung up for YEARS on the idea that they have wasted much of their life before Christ and those feelings have kept them from understanding the value of what they had in the wilderness.
You look at the understanding and level of relationship that you have with God now, and look back at regret that you could not give those "wilderness" years to Him and have enjoyed back then what you have with Him now. You get angry and intolerant of people that bypass your "Bridge out" sign and you tend to easily write them off because they are wasting their time at the same empty wells that you went to at one point in time in your search for THE WATER.

Please understand that I hurt for people who bypass a "Bridge out" sign only to discover a dry well and I will continue to speak out about the emptiness of those wells, but I also see the value in it.
Please understand that your wilderness was what you needed to direct you to THE KING.
It was in your wilderness that you are able to learn your identity. Wilderness wandering times in the lives of those we love are frustrating for sure because we want to spare them hurt, frustration and pain, however it is only in this wilderness time that we can discover our need of a lasting source.

I love how this girl went into the wilderness on her own steam. It was a picture of self reliance to the max and when she emerges, it is with display of her total dependence on the King. She leaned on Him.

If you read earlier in the story, she says, "I went looking for grapes, almonds and pomegranates." She went out looking for things to satisfy herself and then she says, "My desire led me to the chariot of a noble man".

I LOVE it!!!
If you could put it into our terms it could easily sound like this, "I went out in search of security, intimacy and significance. I looked for those things in people places and things, and my desire for those things ended up leading me to a place of emptiness. In that emptiness I found THE KING!"

I don't encourage anyone to wander in a wilderness, but if they are, they have a tremendous opportunity to find God!

"Well Dan, what am I supposed to do when someone that I love seems hell-bent on leaving out into a wilderness in life in search of fulfillment and identity?"

You love them.

What??? Well, what if they never come back to what they have been taught is right?

You love them and you let them know that no matter how far that they go out in search, your light is on for them. Let God be God and let Him prove just how big that He is.

I think of the Wilderness wanderings in my life and I think of this story that I heard awhile back.

After a heated fight between a father and a son erupted, the son chose to pack some clothes and leave his father and mother. After being gone for several years, the boy missed his parents and his home as his anger ebbed away. Finally he knew he should go home. Waiting for his train, he began to fear that maybe his dad didn't want him home. He ran to a pay phone and called home. His mom answered and was flooded with relief when she heard her son's voice. She quickly begged him to come home. He explained that he had already bought a ticket but was afraid that his father didn't want him home, so he asked his mother: "Mom, can you guarantee dad wants me to come home?" The mom was silent for a moment and when the boy asked why she was so quiet the mom said, "Son, your dad is a changed man since the day you left. He hardly speaks anymore -- even to me, and you know how close we are. He never smiles or laughs. He simply goes to work, comes home, broods over dinner, watches TV then goes to bed. On the weekends he sits by his workbench in the garage all alone.
"But mom," the son said, "Does he want me to home? I'm not coming home if I'm not wanted. Mom, what do you say, my train is here and I need to board?" "I can't give that guarantee son, your father won't talk to me, just please come home," pleaded the mom. "I gotta know, mom. Can you give me the guarantee?" "Son, I just don't know about a guarantee." The boy then got an idea. "Mom, he said, "tell dad I'm on the train and I want to come home. Tell him the train will run on the tracks that go behind the back of your property. If he wants me to come home, tell him to hang a white handkerchief from a branch of that old dead apple tree we were going to chop down that's out by the tracks. If I see a handkerchief, I know I can come home; if there isn't one, I'll know I'm not wanted and I'll keep going on the train. Mom, I gotta go. Tell dad what I said. Bye Mom." The boy hung up and jumped on the train. He entered a train car that was filled with strangers. He sat by a window next to an older, stately-looking man, but he kept to himself staring out the window. Finally the older man nudged the boy and said, "Son, it's obvious you have something on your mind. I'll leave you be if you want, but sometimes it helps to talk over your troubles. I've been told I'm a good listener."
The boy looked at the face of the kind stranger and began to tell his story. The boy told of his fight with his father, how he had left home years ago, and how now he wanted to go home. He told of calling his mom and how she was to let the father know the boy was on the train and that if he was welcome, to tie a white handkerchief on the branch of that old dead apple tree. Then up ahead he saw the last bend before the train would run along the back of his parents' property. He pointed the bend out to the stranger, then buried his face in his hands, and doubled over with crying, too afraid to look what was or was not on the tree. The boy felt the train make the bend. He asked the stranger if he would please look out the window and tell him if the handkerchief was there or not as he could not bear the idea of it not being there. The stranger agreed to look out the windows on his side as was asked and could see that they were approaching the apple tree. The boy was hoping that the stranger would yell, "There it is!" or "Hurray!" or "Look at it!" but instead there was simply an audible gasp. The boy knew it must be bad news so he cried harder.
"Is it there mister?"  the boy chocked out, "Is the handkerchief there?"

"Oh no son", the stranger wept. "I don't see a single handkerchief hanging in that tree. There are so many handkerchiefs hanging in that old tree that it looks like it is snowing outside!!!"
The boy sat up and pulled away his hands, and looking out the window as the train passed the apple tree, he saw the most beautiful display of forgiveness and love than he could ever contain. There was an older version of himself standing there with an silver haired woman and they were waving a large white sheet between the two of them! The message was oh so clear. The dad was saying, "Please come home! You are welcome to come home! I need you home. I want you to come home!"
I tell you that to tell you this: Our Father in heaven welcomes us to His home. Oh, He doesn't hang a handkerchief from an apple tree, but His Son Jesus hung on a tree called the cross that reconciled us again to the Father. And it wasn't white flapping in the breeze, it was red. Jesus' red blood flowed, cleansing us of all of our sins. The message is unmistakable; we are welcome again into the family of God, because Jesus' sacrifice makes it so. God, our Father, is welcoming us home. He's giving us eternal life in heaven. He wants us home with Him.

Please understand that I do not encourage anyone to make a wilderness wandering, but if someone you love is out there searching every empty well that they can find, Can I encourage you to love them and pray that Father will bring them to an awareness of Himself. You cannot make anyone find what they are looking for, but you can be there for them when they do!

Climbing with you,


1 comment:

  1. Wow!!! What a wonderful post! I admit I often regeret my past and ask myself what if, but you remind me that there was a meaning with my Wilderness. The thing is all people walk through deserts. Moses and his people did, John the baptizer did and Jesus Christ Walker 40 days in the desert! And I will love the people who are in the desert/wilderness! God bless