My soul was in a place of wilderness. I had nothing and could honestly say, “God, all I have is you.” He whispered a promise in my ear: “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.” (Isaiah 35:6) As time went on I came to understand that the desert in my heart wouldn’t just blossom, it would burst forth with new life, it would flood until it was more verdant than ever before, and God would not finish with me until it had grown beyond a fertile field into an immense forest that I could run and run and run in.
The first time in the wilderness was frightening. I felt abandoned, in there alone, like that feeling when your parents drop you off at summer camp and you see their car drive away. But I did not know God’s promises then. Or actually, I knew them with my head but they certainly had not sunk into my heart. Somehow, I made it out. That’s where I was being led, because God promises all things for the good of those who love him. I just didn’t know it yet.
So the next time I was in the wilderness I took a deep breath. “God,” I said “it’s you and me. I am weak. I have no idea how long I am to stay here, so I’m going to rest in your promises. I know my hands are weak so I am ready for you to make them strong. I know that one day I will leap like a deer and shout for joy. In the haunts where jackals once lay, one day grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.” (Isaiah 35:1-10)
He turned my weeping into joy until waters gushed forth in the wilderness. And everything grew. All I did was wait in the wilderness. But this time, I waited with God.
The most beautiful sights I have seen on this earth have been in the wilderness. Maybe that is because God is wild. The God of volcanoes and thunderstorms and sending down his own son to die for those who wrecked his creation. The God who came as a baby and was born in a dirty cattle shed to an unmarried pregnant teenager to die for the people who crucified him – it doesn’t get much wilder than that. If I am serving a wild God then I am called to be wild too. When we build our ordered lives what are we trying to escape? God? God made the wilderness. Strange as it may sound, maybe the wilderness is home.
God said to me “I’m now going to allure her and bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14) The wilderness. The place where I had nothing but God, where it all started. It’s you and me.
God has taken me out into the wilderness many times. Every time I leave it I try to maintain the posture of knowing that it is God who makes me strong, because that is honestly when I am at my strongest. But he calls me back. I’ll never know why he calls me over and over, drawing me away and drawing me close. Maybe it’s honestly just to spend time with him. Advent is a time of waiting for our Saviour to be born. Wherever we find ourselves waiting this season, be it the mountain top, plains or wilderness, God is with us.
Angela Eichhorst’22 is a freshman in Canaday.