“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” Hosea 2:12
Hiking is one of the many things I love about
Southern California. I can do it everyday and there are several places I can
explore. Hiking is one of my favorite ways to connect with God; exploring His
creative work, quieting my heart and listening to His voice.
This evening, I went on a short 3.5 mile hike at
one of the local parks where I do a majority of my hiking. Most days last week
were over 90 degrees, and I can’t remember the last time it rained. The
hills are brown again, and there isn’t much green to be seen. The trails are
rocky and dusty. It isn’t very pretty to most, in fact some days it makes me
miss the green forests of Michigan. But it always reminds me that God’s people
were wilderness people.
The wilderness, or desert, is a land of “just
enough.” There is just enough water and rain for the vegetation to survive.
There is just enough vegetation for sheep and goats to graze. There is just
enough shade to provide an overheated shepherd relief from the hot sun.
And because there is just enough and not too much,
there is plenty of room to trust.
There is plenty of room to trust you’ll have just enough food to survive the day. Plenty
of room to trust you’ll have just enough water to survive the day. Plenty of room to
trust you will have exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. It is not
what I would consider comfortable, but it is exactly where I want to live my
This evening I decided to hike my regular route
backwards. I did this mostly because it would be a harder climb and I need to
step up my workouts in preparation for our Israel trip, but I also like the
different perspective it gives me. As I made my way up the final climb to the
bluff, I was reminded of one of the hardest moments in my life, my battle with
During that time I was convinced the wilderness I
was in was not a land of just enough but a land of no where near enough. Not
enough of God’s grace to handle my weaknesses. Not enough of God’s love to love
someone like me. Not enough second chances to try again after I messed up. Not
enough reasons for me to even be alive. It was a very dark time. It was the
book of Hosea and the Psalms where I found any glimmer of hope. If Hosea could
marry a prostitute and still follow God each day and rest in His love, surely I could handle another
day. If David could tell God how broken and sad he was and write about it,
surely I could tell God too.
Hosea 2:12 was one of the verses I clung to during those
years. My life felt like that toughest, driest desert to ever exist, but it was
in the desert that God spoke to His people. Most days it felt like He wasn’t
speaking or listening at all. There were brief moments where I heard His voice.
Brief moments where I knew He was there with me. Those moments sustained me.
Those moments healed me.
Now I make it a habit to go to the literal
wilderness to remind myself of what God has done. To remind myself that just
enough is more than enough. To remind myself God is present. I sit in the
wilderness to listen to His tender voice.