Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? Song of Songs 8:5
What a picture. Anyone else feel this like I do? Like, that’s me you see coming straight out of the wilderness, a wilderness like I’ve never known before, leaning...like really leaning on Jesus.
Have you ever been through something that in the midst of it you didn’t think you’d ever get through, heal from, or be able to make sense of? I know I have.
You know, the times when the hurt was deep. The rejection was harsh. The loss was great. The mountain was huge. The solution seemed impossible. The night was dark. The pain was real. The land was dry. And God seemed to be silent; nowhere to be found. Wilderness. When you feel alone, abandoned, lost, scared, weak, paralyzed, confused, out of your mind, frustrated, angry, misunderstood, and many other things of the like. You’ve probably been there, maybe a few times, or maybe you’re there right now.
Can I share with you why I love this verse in Song of Songs?
Many times when we find ourselves in the wilderness, it’s easy to set up camp in the mindset that either - God must be punishing me or God left me on my own and He doesn’t care about me. Let me tell you, that neither of those things are true. We see many times in Scripture that God lead his people into the wilderness. And you might be thinking, why would a loving God lead His people to an “uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable”(googles definition) land?
I love this verse because it depicts so much. She’s coming out of the wilderness, she’s probably exhausted, depleted of all physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strength. Leaning on her beloved. I see him as strong, tender hearted, quiet but ever present & dependable. The journey was long and hard, her clothes may have some rips and tears, there may be mud on her face and bruises on her arms. She may not be walking on her own and in her own strength, but she’s walking as he is leading her out of the wilderness. Up out of the valley into a new thing; a promise, a bright future. He doesn’t walk in front of or behind her, but right beside her, supporting her in every step as they walk.
Might I suggest, God leads us into the wilderness to grow our dependence in Him, and Him alone? I read a quote by Jonathan Hesler once that said: “The wilderness has a way of revealing how you really feel about God.” Woah. Isn’t that the truth?
When you find yourself in the wilderness, do you distance yourself from God? Or do you press in harder? Looking for any glimpse or sign of Him you can find when He has gone silent or feels distant? When you find yourself in the wilderness, are you mad at God? Or clinging to Him, still relying on Him to get you through? And as I think on this, maybe our reaction or response to the wilderness isn’t fully coming from a place of how our heart necessarily feels about God, because wilderness type territory will definitely make a person feel a lot of things, but maybe our reactions and response to the wilderness comes from our lack of understanding of God’s true nature and heart towards us. The wilderness is not a place to get caught up in feelings, but rather a place to live by and stand on what you know to be true about God regardless of how you feel.
He is good. His plans for you are good. He does not tease us, trick us or string us along playing games. The core, the heart of everything He does is good and full of purpose. And if Scripture tells us that He leads His people into the wilderness, then somehow, the wilderness is used for our good. God is consistently leading us and guiding us, teaching us, growing us, developing us & preparing us for all of the things He has prepared FOR us. There are some things God has for you that He cannot release to you until certain things in you are developed. There are some lessons and some truths that we can only learn in the wilderness. How can we learn that God is our provider if we’re never in a place where we NEED Him to come through and provide for us? How can we know God as our healer if we’re never in a place that we desperately NEED Him to heal us. How can we know God as our closest friend unless you’re in a place where you have no one or feel misunderstood by everyone? Additionally, the wilderness is not only a place of growth, development, and learning the nature of God, but also a place of testing and purification. The wilderness will test your faith. The wilderness will reveal hidden parts of your heart that depended on or trusted in something other than God.
The place He wants our hearts, is in full dependency on Him. And truthfully, that is the safest place.
I know it doesn’t feel good, I know He seems far away, and I know sometimes He is silent. But through my own journeying in the wilderness, I have learned and now know that even when it doesn’t feel good, He is still good, even when He feels far, He is actually very near, and though sometimes He is silent, He still hears me and will not be silent forever.
If you’re walking in the wilderness, I just want to encourage you to turn your eyes to Jesus. Don’t camp out in anger or frustration towards God because of the landscape of your season. Know that He is doing something in you and it’s GOOD. Just keep walking. Press in even more than you did before. Lean into Him. It won’t be like this forever. He will lead you through and He will bring you out.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Psalm 84:5-7