We Grow in the Wilderness


I’m thinking my dilemma may be that I am desperately trying to learn to live in the “now” of life, and writing my story involves looking back – revisiting old issues. Reliving the pain and anguish of my darkest days. I’m not sure I’m ready for that or maybe it’s not the time. Which makes perfect sense! Why would I spend the last six months digging myself out of a hole, only to jump back in? This wasn’t the first time I had found myself buried by the heaviness of life. I’m certain I’ve struggled through deep valleys and far off peaks, every year, since my head-on collision in 2013. Always struggling in the wilderness.

I have a friend who does not appreciate the use of “wilderness” in reflection to suffering or struggling. To her, the wilderness is a place of peace – a place of refuge and sanctuary. I concur. The forest, the trees, and all that God’s beauty has to offer, can offer all of these. However, the wilderness is also a place where you are often misdirected, becoming lost –  exposed to the elements. I know this place intimately. The wilderness is where I nearly lost myself and abandoned my family. The wilderness is where my friend Ed lost his life tragically – never seeing the promised land. Blindsided by fear and shame.

I’m certain I’ve lived in the wilderness my entire life, never knowing there was a path through it all. A beautiful promise on the other side of the struggle. Yet, the wilderness I speak of – the dark and murky evil within – this wilderness nearly ate me alive. More than once, I’m afraid. A shame, I carry with me daily. Always wondering, why can’t I be better – do better. Then I reflect on my current position, glancing back at how far I’ve come. What do I see?

A beautiful clearing in front of me! A clearing that is only reachable in God’s time and on God’s path. A promise of what’s to come. A path only visible in direct opposition to where it is I’ve come from. Because if I can not see where it is I used to be, I cannot appreciate how far I’ve come. Nor will I appreciate how much I’ve grown; distracted by the promise of a way out. Losing sight of the purpose – we were meant to grow in the wilderness, not camp in it!

A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. “Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 40: 3-5



Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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