“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14)
When you take an honest look back at your life, it’s relatively easy to pinpoint a season that seemed to be marked with pain, wanting, and even loneliness. It’s a time when you felt stripped down, bare – like your heart is in a constant winter state, longing for the warmth of spring.
In my life, the last seven years were a such a time. Perhaps this is why I felt such a connection with C.S. Lewis’ classic, “The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”. My heart felt like Narnia before the return of Aslan; it was in an perpetual winter season. I used to view this as punishment from God for the mistakes that I made. I was desperate for more.
The number seven in the Hebrew culture represents “completion” or “perfection”. God is so faithful to use the most blatantly obvious symbols and signs in my life to show me that He is just. The past few weeks of living out my twenty-fourth year on this planet have been marked by beautiful revelation from God, and now I’m able to see more clearly how God shaped and molded me in my wilderness season. I needed those seven years. In all honesty, I’m an Israelite through and through — I’m the reason that my wilderness season lasted longer than the journey required. What could have been a year process turned into seven, filled with my grumbling and tears of frustration.
However, as I am now exiting the wilderness, “…coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her Beloved…”, I am so deeply grateful for that time. There are not enough words to express my deep gratitude for this season. Yet again, I’m reminded of the countercultural nature of our God; my weakness and longing was the key to my satisfaction and strength.
In the Hebrew, the word for wilderness (“midbar”) comes from the root word “to speak, appoint, promise” (“dabar”). The purpose of the wilderness season is not to punish you, it’s to commission you!
Leaving the wilderness, fully reliant and fully resting on the shoulders of my Beloved Savior, I am speechless. The wilderness season was the commissioning of my heart for His Kingdom’s plans. I’m ready now for all that this life holds because I’ve learned not to hold anything except the beautifully scarred hands of Jesus.