Wilderness Wanderings

As you may or may not have noticed, this space has fallen mostly silent over the past year or so. It’s felt strange and foreign, this having no words. Somehow, no matter what is happening, no matter what comes along in life, I am usually able to wrap at least a few words around an experience. In fact, words usually help me process experience, help me make sense of and sort out the intricacies of life.

Recently though, it’s just been too much. I can’t find the words – they are not adequate to explain or portray what has been going on in my world and in my heart. Words fail sometimes; they are not enough to do justice to the experience. I think I may be catching a glimpse of what Mary the mother of Jesus did, when Scripture says she “pondered these things in her heart.” I’ve been holding “these things” close to my heart.

Because, mostly, it’s just hard to describe a wilderness journey in words. The stumbling around, the falling down, the crying out to a God who seems distant and silent yet so close at times, the whispers in the dark that are beyond explanation, the inexplicable streams in the desert, the moments when the path seems a tiny bit clearer, the days and weeks when the path has been washed out and obliterated by floods and there is no clear way forward, the fleeting moments of blinding sunlight and the months of clouds dark and low.

While it has been hard to find words to describe this journey, it has been even harder to find words to pray. I’ve found myself flat on my face, with lots of tears and no words. I have had to trust that God is able to interpret that kind of prayer – wordless, heart-wrenching prayer only He can understand. Yet through all of my wandering and stumbling and lostness, my heart prayer has been this – that I would know and experience the Presence of Christ in the wilderness more than I desire a way out of it. I have to say, this wordless prayer has been answered many times over – His Presence has sustained me. He has been, and continues to be, Faithful and True. He has sustained me, and He has changed me.

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