By Kathi Pelton
Yesterday I was on a Zoom call and a beautiful discussion began regarding the words in Song of Solomon 8:5 that says,
“Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?”
We shared deep things about how 2020 has brought the Ecclesia globally into a desert place where He is teaching her to lean upon Him once more.
As we spoke, tears ran down my cheeks as I not only embrace what God is doing today but also remembered these very words that completed a journey God sent me on to save my life 25 years ago.
Though I was already a Christian (even in ministry), I went through the darkest desert experience imaginable for three years. This painful and dark time, which felt like a tomb, concluded with the most amazing and beautiful resurrection where I heard those words spoken to me by the One who I learned to lean on in that desert time— my time in the tomb.
That three year time period began when the Lord spoke to me the words from Hosea 2:14 that say, “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.”
Jesus took me by the hand to “win me back once again.” There was a great battle and wrestle for my life but Jesus spoke so tenderly to me in that desert place. He fought for me and He won me.
The next verse says, “I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.” Hosea 2:15
He had freed me from captivity when I came to know Him as my savior but once again He was going to use the “Valley of Trouble” to restore me and transform me. I was ready to go through the painful process of a metamorphosis that would change everything— transform me into who He created me to be.
I believe that His Bride is in a similar place here in 2020. God’s people have experienced freedom from captivity before but as 2020 began we were brought into a “Valley of Trouble” to be transformed once again. To have our vineyards and fruitfulness restored and to learn to “lean upon our Beloved” once again.
In the beginning of this year I discovered a song called “Lean Back” (by Capital City Music) that captured my heart so deeply. Right before Covid-19 began to shut down our nation I was literally playing that song on repeat every day and soaking in the beauty of His love. Then as we went into quarantine I would hear the words once again from Hosea 2:14, “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.” It was, once again time to “learn to lean.” Here are just a few of the lines in the song,
— You’ve brought me here to rest
And given me space to breathe
So I’ll stay still until
It sinks in
— And I will lean back in the loving arms
Of a beautiful Father
Breathe deep and know that He is good
He’s a love like no other
— You will never leave
Your love sustaining me
Before I even knew
What love was
I knew that once again, we were being called back to first love. We were being given space in time to “breathe again” while the whole world was saying, “I can’t breathe!” His sons and daughters were being called into a rest that set us apart so that we could become a true resting place for the Lord (a dwelling place). The breathe of God was giving us life and first love.
“For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling, saying, “This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it. I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor I will satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful people will ever sing for joy. “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”” Psalms 132:13-18
Here we are now, entering September, and I am still in that place of being set apart to fully learn to lean upon my Beloved like never before. I believe that many are. Though there is busyness all around us, there is still a place of rest and dependency that has found breath, life and first love renewed. I feel constantly undone by His beauty and goodness in the midst of such a contradicting time on earth. As people scream hate and act in violence, my soul has found “a love like no other.”
I deeply encourage you to yield to this time in the desert, in the “Valley of Trouble”, and let Him speak tenderly to you and restore to you all that has been lost. Then, you will hear the words,
“Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her (or his) beloved?”
It is there that we will find rest and become a resting place— a dwelling place for Him.