We are honored to share a piece of 2009 Mercy Graduate Courtney's heart and perspective in a trying season of her life. You can check out Courtney's blog here for more encouragement and real truth!
Seasons are a strange thing--particularly when the ground is covered in white fluff and the calendar still reads March. Spring sure hasn't sprung around here just yet!
I think the Lord, likewise, allows seasons to continue or transition outside of the time frame which we see fit or think to be convenient. Sometimes seasons flow from one to the next so smoothly it takes months before you even realize the transition happened. Other times one gives way to another like a high cliff drops off into the valley--sudden and plummeting. Nothing about the latter transition seems normal or comfortable. Much to our dismay, it even hurts and we find ourselves asking, "God, what in the world are you doing? Where are you and why does it have to happen like this? This makes no sense!!"
This season has me nursing the wounds resulting from that sort of plummet from the dreamy, mountain-top high to the valley low. Don't get me wrong--I know His hand to be trustworthy and gracious more than I ever have in my life. Actually, I don't think I would know grace like this had I not made such a sudden descent into this wilderness season. But ya'll, these days are hard!
When you think of the wilderness, what images come to mind?
For me, the wilderness looks like a dark, dry, dead, lifeless and continually decaying place of habitation. I can't imagine much life able to thrive in such a place. For that reason, these wilderness seasons seem so lonely. God did send Israel there for 40 years, right?
But then God says: Behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And THERE I will give her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor (the valley of trouble) a door of HOPE! [Hosea 2:14-15]
The tears flowed steady and thick as I read these words, realizing His great love for me. It's not this image of one just falling into the dark abyss and landing face-flat amidst a dry and decaying land from which He is distant and concealed at best. No, God says He allured Israel into the wilderness; that He spoke tenderly over her. It was THERE, not on the mountain-top high or the depths of darkness, but there in that dry and desolate place where God promised to give her provision and redemption. He says that through the valley of trouble He will make a door of HOPE! Through this season, through the wilderness.
I am thick-headed and easily caught up in my own plans. Perhaps it took the wilderness for me to see Him this way and for some of myself to simmer down enough to recognize my need for Him—and His grace. Maybe this season is one of tunnel vision that re-focuses my eyes to see His face in all of His glory and see my own a whole lot less.
It's as if sometimes there are things we can only see in the dark. Maybe instead of cursing the dry season or thinking that something is wrong with us, we look up and see Christ. Maybe He shines even brighter when we feel like everything is going crazy. And maybe all we have to do is keep looking up. Keep looking to Him.
There is a this song that repeats on my Spotify these days, and it says, "We fix our eyes on what we know is true. Even in our shame, grace makes a way through. Be our obsession, be our constellation, because you are light in and out of every season."
God is this vocal point, this unchanging bright star, and He calls us to look, to stare, to BEHOLD when everything is feeling out of control. "Because sometimes when you really want to see the stars in all of their glory, you have to go out into the wilderness."
God continues to affirm He is so very near through this season by these words from Jeremiah,
"The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built. O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers."
Perhaps the wilderness provides grace lacking in other seasons. If that's the case, I'm so very grateful. He loves us with an everlasting love and promises to continue His faithfulness to us! He will rebuild what's been broken, and such redemption is cause for the dance of the merrymakers!
Praise Jesus He is enough to satisfy our every need, that He does indeed redeem--and that perhaps He uses the wilderness to help us see our need for such redemption and then to find it there too. It is your face, Oh Lord, which we seek.
"For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish." [Jer. 31:25]
Languish: to become weak or feeble; to droop; to be neglected; to pine with desire or longing
Replenish: to make full or complete again; to fill anew; to supply with fresh fuel
Christ making full or complete again that which was drooping and neglected--well, that makes for such great joy.
If it takes the wilderness to replenish me, then may I be taught by such joy!