“To be commanded to love God at all, let alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless. Even in the wilderness – especially in the wilderness – you shall love him.”
– Frederick Buechner
Sometimes we travel to the soundtrack of saints’ and angels’ song. Sometimes the sun shines warm upon our heads and the road is paved with the invitation to acceleration.
Then suddenly the clouds hide the sun, the cold north wind drowns out the music. The road is no longer dry and pothole-less. It has not been cleared of ice and snow drifts. In fact, not only is the road not paved with golden potential fulfilled, it’s not even paved.
Who knew that the wilderness is where the Lover of our souls takes us when he asks us to come away with him?
Who knew this is the place where he tells us who we are and shows us a part of his character we never understood before?
Who knew this is where faith is built, where we learn to lean on him?
Who knew this valley is the fulfillment that puts systems and material wealth and the approval of people who don’t think the way God does into perspective?
Who knew the wilderness is preparation for prosperity so that it will not distract and overwhelm?
Who knew the Valley of Achor (trouble) is where the door of hope awaits?
Who knew? The Lover of our soul knew. He planned it.
He invites us to come away to his upside-down kingdom where the first shall be last and the last shall be first, where his thoughts become our thoughts, and where, with his covenantal laser of sweet pain, he writes his law of love on our trembling heart.