Have you ever been out in the backcountry of a place like Yosemite? Have you ever been in a place where you can look out and, for miles and miles, see nothing but open space, uninterrupted by civilization? This is the wilderness.
Recently, I went on a backpacking trip through Yosemite, and I lived in this wilderness for ten days. The wild: it’s a beautiful thing to be removed from the sounds and things so constantly invading life, distracting, causing stress and occasional chaos. I journeyed to Yosemite and fell in love with this wilderness-living. Yet, when I am faced with not a physical wilderness but an emotional, spiritual, relational wilderness, I panic.
Merriam Webster defines wilderness as “an empty or pathless area or region,” “wild or uncultivated state,” “confusing multitude or mass,” and “a bewildering situation.” Even if you’ve never been in the Yosemite wilderness, can you relate to these feelings? I’ve been thinking about the wilderness and what it would look like to approach the wilderness we can feel in our spiritual lives with the same way the backcountry of Yosemite is approached. What if we viewed these emotional/spiritual/relational wildernesses as a sea of possibilities? Yes, it is confusing, yes, it is bewildering, yes, it is wild and uncultivated, but it also means there is so much potential and room for the new to be created.
But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
The overgrown, seemingly unescapable wilderness of the soul is promised to be created new by the One who creates.
What’s your wilderness? Is it a confusing multitude of options for the future? Is it a pathless future? Is it a bewildering situation with family or friends? Is it a spiritual season of feeling dry and bewildered? All this can feel like uncharted territory, but as we recognize our wilderness we can begin to foster a mindset of viewing our wilderness as the setting for God to do something spectacularly new.