Advent begins in the distance. It begins in places we find ourselves, not because we planned to be there, or wanted to be there, or ever thought we would be there. Suddenly, we look around and are shocked to realize, “Oh my God, how in the hell did I get all the way out here?”
We assume, because we are at our most primal level of survival, that we are alone out there, and that no one cares or is looking for us. This is a bit of self-pity and inward thinking and we know that, but in the wilderness we don’t care. There is too much to do, to grieve, to fear, to forgive to not just get stuck in our wilderness state.
Until, that is, we hear a voice. Where did that come from? Did you hear it? Was it to the south or the north? A voice that cries out, “Comfort, comfort oh my people.” Did you hear that? How does it know we are out here? Did it come out to find us? Was it here all along? Was it waiting for us, knowing we would somehow find ourselves out here?
The voice cries for comfort, in the uncomfortable land of the wilderness. It cries for a soft pillow and a warm blanket against the rocky ground and strong wind. It cries for a light in the window and a hand at the door. It cries for laughter through tears and humility through forgiveness. It cries for a change in our thinking, our living and our hoping. It cries for acceptance that this is the way things are, but not always the way things will be. It cries for us, with us and out for us. It cries for peace.
How did you find me out here? I thought I had myself pretty well hidden. Camouflaged myself so that no one would ever know that I am hurting, lonely, grieving, angry, afraid, anxious, and guilty. I put my trust in earthly things. I loved myself more than you. I thought I was immune to what other people were experiencing. But I am just as human and susceptible to being in the wilderness as anyone else.
How did you find me out here? I’m not sure I want to leave this place, as hard as it, I have gotten comfortable in this identity. I cannot really imagine life in any other way. You do not ask me to leave. You seem to understand I need this time out here. Stay with me God. Give me enough to sustain me through the day. Let me see cracks of light in the dark clouds and fill my brokenness with your steadfast peace. Walk with me. Stay very close. Let me know you are near.
What is your wilderness experience?
What will peace look like when it is given to you?