Approximately ten years ago, I had occasion to visit Gran Canaria. It is an island which belongs to Spain situated off the Northwest corner of Africa, specifically Morocco. The beaches are beautiful and the water is as clear as glass. Most tourists remain on the coasts during the day and in the numerous nightclubs after sunset. I, however, rented a car and ventured inland on this magnificent island. I did not do my homework in advance so I did not expect what I discovered, which was a blessing. It made the experience much more an adventure.
When I arrived at the top of the mountain and exited the vehicle to take in the spectacular view, I suddenly noticed the complete silence. That is when I learned I was atop a huge volcanic mountain rock. There was not a bird nor a bug in sight. No vegetation existed so there was no food to draw any creatures. It was a wilderness like none I had ever experienced…a place totally void of any life, of any sound. It was a destitute vacuum.
A Wilderness is a very solitary place. At times, such a place can be frightening; the void is consuming. If I were to close my eyes in such a barren place, it would be as if I had entered into a land of nothingness. Yet, for some reason, I was overcome with its magnificence. There was an indescribable beauty in this tenantless land. Nothing existed but me and my God, as if I was standing on Holy Ground. To find such a place of utter stillness brought a peace which surpassed all understanding. Where no life existed, my life was enhanced.
In Psalm 78:19, the people grumbled against God: “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?”. Yes, He can. This made God furious and in response He sent them rain to drink, bread-Manna from Heaven, and quail as meat in abundance. In His Mercy, He remembered that they were but flesh (vs. 39) though they had caused Him much grief (vs. 40). There is no place we can go to where God is not there. In Psalm 139, King David wrote:
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
In our darkest hour of grief, when we are consumed with emptiness feeling as if our own life has ceased and nothing but bareness exists, God is still there. His love does not forsake us for not even death can separate us (Romans 8:38-39). The wilderness is a place where God can meet us in the most amazing ways. It is through that ‘hole in hopelessness’ of which my son wrote, that we can find real Hope.
O, how God must become weary with how often we question his itinerary for our lives. How often we think we know better how to get from here to there! We are so much more prone to grumble with the conductor when the train turns south, than we are to sit patiently and wait for lessons from the Lord. He is a very mysterious guide. We never quite know what is coming next. God would never make it in the travel industry because he is always leading his best clients into the wilderness. (Piper)
“The wilderness is never easy. But God has purposes for us in the wilderness that cannot be accomplished by staying in Egypt. Those who resolve to follow Jesus must eventually spend time in the desert with him. There in that solitary place, they gain what cannot be purchased except through pain and suffering. It was necessary for Jesus to go into the wilderness. It is necessary for us also. Think of it this way. The wilderness isn’t a fun place to be. You always end up feeling alone and exhausted. You may not fast for 40 days, but you will often come to the end of all human resources. And you will feel like giving in and giving up. You will wonder why God has abandoned you. Nothing will make sense; all will seem confusing. But do not despair.” (Keep Believing)
We must never lose sight of the fact that the ‘Wilderness of Grief’ is temporary. Even a desert can eventually produce life.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728 Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Also, see a more complete list at: http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))