The physical wilderness is harsh to humans. It is unforgiving and can test every resilience of the soul. But the wilderness can be something more subtle, more everyday in every location. It can be a place and time of emotional, spiritual or medical suffering. The wilderness can be brokenness, hardship, or pain. I’ve been through those wildernesses. Have you?
Have you ever come face to face with a ferocious monster? You know, the kind of villainous, malicious, delicious… err… knee-knocking, pants-wetting, truly terrifying creature who stalks your dreams and watches from behind spooky gnarled trees in the thick of the forest kind of monster? Monsters are scary and there are real problems to face. But it is wise to face them with a heart of faith, whether you have walked with God forty years or forty days.
I’ve found that barrenness is a close bedfellow of hopelessness. Whether it be the intensely deep longing for a child or a medical illness or a relationship longing, barrenness can sap a soul of joy… of peace… of faith. In the case of Sarah and Abraham, it was the desire for a legitimate son and heir.
We live in a culture that says you can, “Have it your way.” This philosophy has slipped over into every area of life. We begin to think we can have every part of our life customized — designed in just the way we want it to be. Inherent in this kind of thinking is the idea that we know what is best for our lives, that we actually know what we need. When we live this way, our focus begins to narrow, to become more and more self-centered. We also miss out on so many beautiful blessings that could come our way if we were less picky.