This is Day 17 of 40 days of the allegorical devotional fiction, The Woman in the Wilderness.
The Absence of Praise
The troubadour’s song was of a maiden who far too quickly and often forgot what her lover has done for her. This lover of hers who once found her in desolation and took her in, clothed her with fine linens and adorned her with gold, had given her a love like no other. He ignored everything that she used to be. He restored her and gave her back her dignity, but the moment she was once again able to stand on her own two feet, she left him and ran after other lovers.
And so was the sorrow of the song of the troubadour, as he plucked the last chord, a tear running down his cheek. As soon as the tear dropped from his chin, however, the troubadour once again found a reason to praise.
There’s always a reason to sing praise.
But as she swallowed her morsel of bread, her soul was stirred up within her, a longing that almost seemed wrong, but spoke to the deepest part of her. He is worthy of my praise, but am I deserving of His? At the end of this journey, will I hear Him say, “Well done.” Or will He turn His back on me? Tell me that He never knew me?
The yearning to know His mind and His heart grew so great in its magnitude, it began to overwhelm her. How long was this journey going to be? It felt as if His kingdom was nowhere to be found.
She grasped for the gem the gossamer prince had left her. She tried to remember His promises, but all she could think about was the song of the troubadour and how she herself had been as guilty as the maiden in the song.
He knows my inmost being more than I do. What darkness could He have seen in there? He knows me. He sees me. Every motive. Every desire. Did I really journey through this wilderness to seek Him out and find Him or am I only drawn by the treasures His kingdom has to offer?
Suddenly, it felt like the gem on her hand, once of promise of joy and great reward, lost its appeal. What am I doing? Why am I here?
Panic filled her even as her mind began playing tricks on her. The question brimmed up from within her, begging to be asked: “Is He pleased with me?”
His song interrupted, the troubadour’s eyes took on an expression undecipherable.
“I want to know if He likes me,” she added.
The troubadour smiled. “That’s not a question for me to answer, woman in the wilderness,” he said gently, almost as if he was speaking to a child.
Before she could protest, the musician faded into the rock of which he was made of. And so the stone troubadour was gone, leaving her soul both longing to praise Him, but fearing that she was unworthy of the journey she was determined to take.
And if only to find an answer to her question, she wandered deeper into the wilderness.
Does He like me?
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
Psalm 139:1 (NIV)
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
Matthew 25:21,23 (NIV)
How many times have you made a decision or done something and wonder later if it was what He wanted you to do?
We rarely have a full perspective of who we are before Him. A lot of times, we are not even aware, but He knows. He knows why we are on this journey. He knows the desires of our hearts. And if we are in this for the right reasons, if we are intent in our pursuit of Him, we long to hear His approval. We long to hear His praise. The last thing we want is for us to reach the end of our wilderness, and find that we have wasted the experience and that through it all, we murmured and grumbled and didn’t actually get a deeper, more intimate knowledge of Him.
Being in the wilderness is a journey of hope. It is going through barrenness in hopes of birthing something within us that is of the Spirit and not of the flesh. With that hope comes peace. When our peace is shaken, it is a time to pause and reflect. To fight for that peace, because we cannot go on without it. And in that moment of reflection, we allow Him to search us, to remove that which is keeping our eyes from the reason we’re in this journey to begin with: to know Him, be with Him, delight in Him.
To share in His happiness.