Summary: God’s word transcends our wilderness experiences.
A WORD IN THE WILDERNESS
By Cleavon Matthews
December 9, 2007
The seasons of life are transitory moments. The video recordings of our migration are captured on the memory sticks of our mind. Our personal narrative is no fable or fairy tale. We are not living a Hollywood script. Our life is real.
We hope to have homeostasis during our habitation. We are grateful for the good times. We are thankful for the tranquil moments of rest. We praise God for the periods of peace, prosperity, and times of laughter.
But we know the memory stick also has scenes of discomforting episodes. The sun does not shine every day. There are droughts, deaths, diseases, and destructions. Life is not only experienced in the open fertile fields of happy harvest. We also matriculate through the weeds and woods of the wilderness.
The wilderness is wild and untamed. It is a dangerous place. The wilderness is a place of emotional instability and mental uncertainty. We are using the language of metaphor of course. The wilderness is the imaginative symbol of difficult times.
The wilderness is not always identical. It can be the overwhelming frustrations of overworking. It can be caring for the continuously unthankful. The wilderness can be the despair of loss and grief. In her book titled Unfair Kimberly Griffith describes the wilderness of her personal grief. On July 17, 1995 she came home from work to find her thirteen year old daughter, fifteen year old son, and her husband murdered by his own hand.
Kimberly describes this barren wilderness: “Sometimes I feel like I’m in a barren wilderness all alone. The loneliness had a permanence and weight all its own. It became heavier and heavier as the sun went down, reaching its peaks at dusk and at bedtime. It was often smothering, crushing and paralyzing. The loneliness sapped my energy and desire. It even attacks me now when I am not alone. Sometimes it even attacks me when I am with my closest friends. Loneliness is ruthless- it’s a deadly barren wilderness” (pp118-119).
Job lamented with sorrow, grief, and loss. Job said, “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb? Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; then I would have been at rest” (Job 3:11-13).
The wilderness has many shapes and forms. The wilderness is a place of despair and desperation. The wilderness is the anxiety of the unknown. The wilderness is the paralyzing fear of rejection. The wilderness is the suffocating compression of sorrow. The wilderness is the mourning of shame. The wilderness is the loss of innocence. The wilderness is the numbing of betrayal. The wilderness is a place of…
The wilderness is a place of…
Psalm 63 is a word for those in the wilderness. David has lived in the lap of luxury. David has known great success and victory but now he is in the wilderness. David has been forced to evacuate Jerusalem. Absalom, the king’s son, has led a revolt. He has stolen the hearts of the people (2 Sam. 15:13). David went weeping up the Ascent of the Mount of Olives with his head covered and his feet bare (2 Sam. 15:30). David is going to the wilderness. As he goes Shimei is cursing him and throwing stones at him (2 Sam. 16:5-6). David and those with him became weary in the wilderness (2 Sam. 16:14). They were hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness (2 Sam. 17:29).
I.THE SEARCH FOR GOD
Psalm 63:1-2 “O God, You are my God: early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.”
David had a spiritual experience in the wilderness. David survived the wilderness. We too can make it. We can survive the wilderness. We must not sentence ourselves to failure. The wilderness is not invincible. The wilderness can be subdued. It can be tamed!
Search for God because His power and glory transcend the wilderness. Our place (wilderness) is not as important as His Person. God has not relocated. He is omnipresent. David said, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, Your are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me” (Ps 139:7-10).