Worshipping in the Wilderness
I have a summer goal to do 10 short hikes this year with one being a long, strenuous hike up Georgia’s Yonah Mountain. Being a few hours from the Appalachian foothills in North Georgia and other hikes which include some of Georgia’s beautiful waterfalls, I can not help feel I have neglected some of God’s most precious creation.
I have done a little hiking in the past. Not a lot but just a few to whet my appetite to leave behind the noise of city life and find a quiet place. Find a place alone with no one but me and God. That is when God likes to speak. Today, it might be the best time he can speak in our current hustling and bustling world.
Alone. No voices to hinder, direct, prod, and pull. In the wilderness, the world is different. You see how small you appear yet know deep inside despite the beauty all around you are more important. You are the apple of God’s eye. You are reminded nothing can separate you from the love of God — not even being on the peak of Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s tallest mountain.
There was a time Jesus needed a wilderness experience. The Bible says the Holy Spirit orchestrated the event by ushering alone. For 40 days, I get the visual of a father and son time where the father is given detail instructions to an attentive son. He needed no food. He fed on the Words of his Heavenly Father moments throughout the day.
I have always viewed the wilderness as a dreaded dry, barren desert void of any kind of life. Until I read the story again of Jesus being led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness — not desert. Jesus’ wilderness in Luke 4:1 is described as an unpopulated place or a solitary place needed for quietness. Not everyone can get to a wilderness yet God can prescribe and create the right situations to meet one on one — city trains, alone driving, office cubicle, city parks.
There are seasons in our lives where we are escorted by the Holy Spirit to our unpopulated, solitary wilderness experience. Sometimes it is a quick strong desire to depart with the hand of God leading. Most times, you find yourself surrounded by waterfalls and lush green of nature of God’s wilderness classroom and questioning how you arrived. Though people are all around, work continues daily, and events proceed, there is an uneasiness. There is a desire to get back to your wilderness to be alone with God himself. This is the highest form of intimacy with the Almighty.
I simply define intimacy as ‘into me you see.’ God seeing inside of you and you seeing inside of God where ‘deep calls to deep.’ (Psalm 42:7) Jesus said, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” This one scripture describes the highest form of intimacy. Life consummated by a divine wilderness appointment with the Creator of the Universe.
Since it is a divine engagement, you are not aware of when it will conclude. I can only describe it as a lifting similar to the moment you realize it is time for guest to depart of visit. You will eventually fade back into the business of life ever hungry for the next wilderness experience. Each experience leaves you wanting for it not to end yet hungry for more. The teacher closes his books, the father tucks you in bed, and kisses you on the forehead and says see you next time.
There will be times of daily conversations, prayers, and petitions but nothing like an extended time where the world fades and God takes centerstage for a season. That is what it is — a season. Just long enough to make an impression but never, ever long enough.
I would love to hear from you and your school of the wilderness experience. Send me a message and let’s connect. If you enjoyed this post, please visit some of my other writings: