I am walking the wilderness these days. I’ve come to another of those places in my life where I am without a clear path. The one I had been on has come to an end, and I have no yet wandered across the next one I can see. This is terrifying; this is exhilirating; this is tiring; this is waiting. This is good.
My abstract mind pictures this wilderness as dangerous – Survivorman-like. And perhaps it is. But the truth of the physical wilderness as I know it is also the place the gives me the most sustenance. Mountain ranges and vast river valleys where I cannot see humanity’s fingerprints. Deserts of open sky and broad breath. Oceans where whales can breech and widen my eyes.
In the Bible, it is to the wilderness that God leads people when they need to discern their path. The Isrealites, Elijah, Jesus. . . they walk the wilderness to hear God’s voice. As my friend Sarah reminds me, it is often in the wilderness that we hear God’s voice – the gentle and quiet whisper that came to Elijah’s ears after the hurricanes and the earthquakes and the fires. The whisper of God – the name I will give my farm when I own it – is what I seek here in the wilderness just as those great desert walkers did before me.
As frightening as it is to walk into this wilderness, I also take great hope in these moments. I hear God telling me to wait and rest, wait and rest, and I listen. I am not always good at listening, but I need to listen. I need to hear. And as much time as it takes me to hear this whisper in the wilderness is as much time as I will be here. While I am here, I will glory in the space of it and let it fill me even as I am drained of all that which I do not need. The glory of the wilderness.