Have you ever felt like you’re wandering?
Call it “wandering,” “the valley,” “a low,” “the wilderness,” “obscurity” or whatever you want. Regardless of what you choose to call it, wandering is lonely, painful and quite honestly, the most uncomfortable place to be.
Jonathan Martin, in Prototype (by the way, if you think I’m going to stop referencing this book anytime soon, you’re wrong…so, just go buy yourself a copy), calls this place “the wilderness.” He explains why we, as humans, dislike the wilderness so much,
“In our culture of constant access and nonstop media, nothing feels more like a curse from God than time in the wilderness. To be obscure, to be off the beaten path, to be in the wilderness feel like abandonment. It seems more like exile than vacation. To be so far off everyone’s radar that the world might forget about us for a while? That’s almost akin to death.”
The first time I read the header to the section on the wilderness, I literally laughed out loud (and not in a good way), “The Gift of Wilderness.” The dialogue in my head went something like this, “Gift…GIFT?! This must be a joke.” It wasn’t. And in a much shorter time than I imagined, Jonathan’s words had me trying to rethink the way that I look at this time of obscurity in my life,
“…God draws people into obscurity — into the wilderness — not because He’s angry with them or because they aren’t “successful enough,” but because He wants to go deeper in His relationship with them.”
I paused when I read that line, and had there been a lightbulb floating above my head, I think it literally would have started flashing obnoxiously. Deeper, deeper…DUH, He wants me to go deeper with Him.
I use busyness and a social life to avoid dealing with problems I’m facing and mostly to avoiding fleshing things out with God. This is the scenario I always try to hide from…I’m sitting in my room, lights off, candle burning, Bible in front of me, tears streaming down my face, everything I don’t want to deal with swelling up in my head. Sound familiar? I don’t want to feel the pain, yell, and fight until someone wins…and let me tell you, it’s NEVER me. But, if we don’t fight, how is our relationship with Him supposed to grow or change (cue another lightbulb moment)? Jonathan describes this uneasy situation much better than I can, “Amid the constant noise of our daily lives, we don’t have to reflect too deeply on what we’re afraid of or what we’re suppressing or even what we love. But the wilderness is where our demons come out to taunt us. That’s why most of us don’t want to go there.”
Maybe, just maybe, we can start to see this place of pain as more than just that, pain, but also as a place of growth and healing.
Yes, I’m wandering. But, if force myself to sit down, and have that fight with God…even if I have to have the same fight a million times over, maybe I’ll come out on the other side shiny and new.
I’m really trying to believe the words that Jonathan ended this chapter with (and maybe you can too), “All the good stuff happens in obscurity.“