Alright, it’s been a week. I owe you guys at least some explanation for my post last friday.
As I recounted to someone all that occurred, I realized just how hard it is to put such a deep thing into words. I probably could do it, but not in a way that transports you to that time and place and lets you feel what I felt. It just won’t do. It was my dear sweet time with my Lord and I’m afraid the words are lacking for me to share it with you in entirety and depth. But, as He provides, I think I can share a piece of it with you.
The beginning of this story was mentioned back in this post, when I recognized the need to go out in nature to meet with God but didn’t necessarily know why, and then I was so completely crippled by caution that I wasn’t even able to get there. Then God showed me why, and it was the source of my raving to Paul as we climbed a mountain (recounted in this post).
So here goes the full story. Most of my life I’ve met with God in the comfort of my home or in the familiarity of a coffee shop. Journal, Bible, and pen in hand, I met with my Lord. We talked about life and He taught me more of Himself. These times are now familiar and routine, providing slow, steady growth. Then there were times sprinkled throughout my path where I met God unconventionally: outdoors in the woods, by myself in a prairie, or lost on a road in the country. These times were different. I couldn’t just say, “I was reading Galatians ___ and God showed me ____ and I realized I am ___ and He is ___.” Walking away from these times in nature I was just different, and putting any explanation to why seemed futile. “I was watching these bluebirds and it was just.. wow,” doesn’t really communicate some huge spiritual revelation. And yet, it really was a huge revelation. It’s like our time out in Creation seeps down into our bones and transforms us from the inside out. We don’t come away with a new lesson to apply to our mental libraries. Instead, we are a different person, who views the world and the people around them with completely new eyes.
I thought maybe this was just a coincidence, or an odd incident, but I decided to look it up. I remembered that over and over again in the Bible it says that Jesus withdrew to the wilderness to pray. ἔρημος is the word for ‘wilderness’ in greek. Unlike our idea of wilderness, it doesn’t mean a desert or a place devoid of life. ἔρημος can be a very lush forest, it just means there are no people. Specifically, no ability for aid or protection from people. (Ah, see? This is why the first time I went out to meet God in What Came With the Morning I couldn’t seem to. I was so wrapped up in caution that I couldn’t be with Him because I wasn’t really being. I wasn’t letting ἔρημος happen because I was trying to control the wilderness and make it safe. It doesn’t work that way.) When I realized that Jesus chose the wilderness when He needed time to deeply connect with the Father (even though He was God and could communicate with Him anywhere), I realized ἔρημος must have some value in itself. In fact, just before Jesus rode into Jerusalem for His crucifixion, He withdrew to the wilderness with His disciples to just go be. Nothing is recorded of their time there, but some people believe that they were there for almost 3 months. In a 3 year ministry, 3 months is a substantial amount of time to “waste” alone with His disciples doing who knows what. But Jesus didn’t see it as a waste. He knew the value of ἔρημος, and if He or His disciples were going to weather the tumultuous storm that lay ahead of them, ἔρημος was the best place to prepare.
So there. Going out to be in the wilderness, a place away from people and aid/protection, must be important because Jesus did it over and over. And when He calls me out, really out, it has always been transforming.. so the stories must be true. 🙂
And, like He does, He finally redeemed my miserable ἔρημος fail of April 28th with my time this last Friday. I was out, and when I came back I was completely different. All the struggles and brokenness of my prior post, Codependency, Metaphors, and Maybe’s, seemed faded off behind. Eeyore went up the mountain, and a new creation came back down. I’m still unfurling my wings that were cramped in my cocoon, but it looks like it is going to be a beautiful flight.