What does the word 'wilderness' mean for you? 'Wilderness' is the Advent Word for today.
Is the wilderness a place of escape into the natural, uncultivated world of nature? In the hope of finding refreshment?
You can escape from people, but not from yourself or from God.
In the wilderness, the name of the game can become sheer survival, faced with the daily necessity to find water and food. In the wilderness wild beasts may threaten, in the form of jackals and wolves outside or the fears or depressive thoughts within.
The word 'wilderness' is found at least 300 times in the Bible. The people of God wander in the wilderness, complain about it, are led through it by God.
The wilderness is the place where God asks questions like:
- what are you doing here?
- where are you going?
- will you listen to my voice?
- do you trust me?
The wilderness is the place where God provides what is needed, water, food and a way to live in relationship with God and one another.
If you find yourself in a wilderness that feels like a parched desert from which you long to escape, here are some words from the prophet Isaiah intended to give hope:
"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them.
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool or water,
and the dry land springs of water."
Isaiah 41: 17 - 18
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