This is Day 18 of 40 days of the allegorical devotional fiction, The Woman in the Wilderness.
The Mist of the Abyss
With every step, it felt as if her heart grew heavier and her mind more cluttered with questions she couldn’t find an answer to. She walked on, her feet dragging with every step, each step feeling more of a battle than the last.
She was suddenly so aware of her weakness, her hunger and her thirst. The bread and the water no longer satisfied. She began to question whether or not she could even take another step, much less reach the end of the wilderness, but she pressed on, remembering an admonition from one wiser than she.
Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling…
Every time it felt as if her knees would give way beneath her, she gritted her teeth and took another step forward.
Why is this so difficult? She fought the strong urge to pity herself, for she knew enough not to dishonor Him by thinking of herself as some sort of victim in a journey she had chosen to take out of her own free will.
Hope surged within her when she saw a clearing ahead. Could it be? Could it be the end of this wilderness and the beginning of His kingdom?
Her every step grew harder almost as if the air itself was keeping her from her destination, but in spite of the opposition, she walked on, her hope growing with every successful, albeit painful, step.
She then reached the clearing and her knees collapsed beneath her at the sight that she saw. Despair took over. He doesn’t like me! He doesn’t want me here! I am not chosen! Many are called, but few are chosen. I am not among the chosen. If I was, then shouldn’t this be easier? Wouldn’t He be clearing the way for me?
Yet right before her was a vision of a distant kingdom and a deep, dark abyss standing in the way of her reaching the One she loved.
Tears streamed down her cheeks as discouragement took over. She stared into the bottomless chasm that stood between the edge of the forest and the rest of the wilderness. She could tangibly feel a dark mist rising from the pit and covering her like a blanket, attempting to seep into her soul.
Her palms pressed against the ground, her knees digging into the dirt, her spirit knew that she was in battle. She knew one thing she had enough power to do to fight back the mist and pry her eyes away from the abyss and towards the kingdom of shining light: worship.
Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. I will worship. I am called to be here, to worship Him in the desert – that much I know for sure.
So with every ounce of strength left in her, she raised her hands in the air and surrendered. As she began to sing in sweet abandon, the abyss in front of her remained, but the mist surrounding her and within her cleared.
And it didn’t take long before she knew exactly what she had to do in order to be free.
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14 (KJV)
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
Job 13:15 (KJV)
Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness…
Exodus 7:16 (NIV)
Despair. Hopelessness. Discouragement.
These feelings are not strangers to a woman in the wilderness. At some point in our walk with God, we’ve experienced one or all of these. Deep, meaningless, seemingly unending, and because of our own human nature, we begin to question, we begin to doubt.
Did He indeed call us? Does He indeed want us?
And as much as we long for His answers, sometimes, we are met by silence. With the silence is this emptiness within us, this hunger and thirst, that’s begging to be filled. It almost feels like we are Hagar and Ishmael, sent out into the wilderness to die.
But these moments in life cultivate in us a hope, a discipline, and a faith that can be found nowhere else.
In the middle of your trials, when all you have is a tiny shred of hope that you are His and that you are called into His kingdom, are you still able to worship? Are you still able to lift those hands up in surrender, and tell Him that in Him, you have placed your trust?
We must learn to worship Him in the wilderness if we are to make it through. Do so, and let the mist of despair trying to consume you clear.
No matter what’s going on, we were made to worship.