Time after time while speaking at women’s retreats and conferences, I hear stories that break my heart. Some women have been abandoned by their husbands while others are married to men addicted to pornography. Some are grieving the death of a child while others are grieving the inability to conceive. Some are afraid of an unknown future while others are afraid of facing their past. Many are on a wilderness walk – a desert of the soul – and wondering when it will end.
The word wilderness often conjures a negative image in our minds. We think of an uninhabitable place. A desert dotted with sagebrush, perhaps. A flat, dusty wasteland. The thought of finding life or refreshment there seems absurd. But Psalm 84:5-7 suggests we think again:
“Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.”
What are these verses saying? They’re telling us that the road to a more intimate walk with God often leads through a place of struggles and tears. The journey is difficult and not one we’d choose for ourselves, but in the midst of the wilderness wasteland, we find refreshment. Our strength is renewed as we keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Our hearts are encouraged when we remember that He is with us. And our hope is restored when we discover blessings – evidences of His love for us – along the way.
Are you walking in a wilderness of the soul? If so, remember that God knows where you are. His desire is that your wandering will spur growth in your life, and that it will lead you to a more intimate walk with Him. That’s my desire for you, too, my friend.
Here’s a question for you: What blessings have you discovered while walking in the wilderness?
Sometimes we need the wilderness, so that we’ll be able to fully appreciate paradise.
Spoken by one who’s been there….