by Kathi Pelton
Some of you have been going through a time of deep pain, deep longing and what you’d describe as a wilderness time. Many years ago I went through such a time and during those few years I honestly wondered if I’d survive the pain and darkness that surrounded my soul.
During that time I was often awake in the middle of the night trying to find my way through the unrelenting pain. One night, in the midst of the thick wilderness, I began to hear the words from the Book of Hosea flowing through my heart like a stream of hope upon my dry and thirsty soul. The words are from Hosea 2:14-23,
““Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ’ I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord. “In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord — “I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ””
These verses became my lifeline! They gave me purpose in the pain and points for prayer. God hadn’t taken me into the wilderness to ruin me but rather to restore me! In His incredible mercy, He drew me into a place that was set apart because He loved me too much to leave me content with less than the fullness of what He intended for my life.
There, in the wilderness, I became aware of all the “masters of my soul” and I became keenly aware of the captivity that the busyness of my life had hidden in the locked closets of my soul. I was laid bare and in the midst of naked vulnerability He covered me with His love, He healed my wounds, dressed me in His righteousness and He betrothed me to Him; changing my identity to, “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.” (Songs of Solomon 6:3)
Though it was the most painful time of my life; it was the most important time in my life. I am forever grateful that He “allured me into the wilderness to speak tenderly to me and to restore me.” During that three year wilderness my life was saved and everything changed. I was set free to truly live, truly be loved and truly breathe in the beauty of salvation.
The wilderness is not without purpose! Rarely is it only a moment but rather a journey. My wilderness changed when I began to understand that there was a divine purpose in it. Prior to that it was merely agonizing pain that was leaving me stuck. As soon as I found the purpose through the verses in Hosea, I began to partner with God to walk into freedom upon the path He had forged for me.
Your wilderness is not without purpose. Winter is for only for a season but you must go through that season to get to the springtime. If you are in a wilderness season; you are not in the wilderness alone. God is with you there. You are surrounded by angelic hosts that have been assigned to you— to minister to you. Holy Spirit is with you to reveal the purpose and the path to you. It’s not a place to build homes or remain but a place to journey “through.”
It is a place of redemption! It is a place where you are set free and a place where you are betrothed. My life truly began in the wilderness when I discovered He was there with me. From that point onward I moved forward and left behind the masters I had served and the chains that had held me captive. Some call it, “the dark night of the soul” but I call it the “door of hope.” My valley of weeping became the threshold of true joy and freedom.
When I emerged from this season into my springtime my husband gave me a gift. It was the verses from Songs of Solomon 2:10-13 engraved on slate. They read,
“My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.””
Don’t stop moving forward because the purpose of your wilderness is redemption! The winter will pass and flowers will appear. The sound of the dove’s song will be heard once again. You will bear fruit once again and intimacy will surround you like the fragrance of a garden in full bloom.
You are in a doorway of hope. Though weeping lasts a night…joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
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Thank you and abundant blessings upon you!