A Waltz with God in the Wilderness

The following piece is something I found many years ago that ministered to my heart at that time. It is written by Kathy Boice, to whom I give full credit and thanks.  I hope you enjoy it too.

My feet crunch the icy ground. I walk under shadows drawn by ponderosa pines, through the sharp scent of wood smoke.

God is here.

Beneath this velvet blanket of night sky, we whisper. We are not strangers, He and I. The dimensions of my love for Him have been tried by broken dreams and measured by the loneliness of a God-shaped hole in my heart that longs for a God-sized hug.  He is my true lover.

Still, after all this time, I feel I know so little of Him. He is full of surprises. Sometimes He is a God who takes away.  My desires for family and a husband have been prayed and wept over, put to death and revived again.  Over and over, God and I have danced this long waltz.

Sometimes He is a God who refused to step in and make things right.  Though God is just, life isn't fair. And He has chosen not to make it fair. Some of us will get the desires of our hearts and achieve our dreams. Some of us won't.

If I survive, it will not be because God made my life easier, but because I know Him and this is everything. He is using the tender places in my heart to carve out relationship.

Hannah pleaded. David danced. Job anguished. Jacob wrestled. Esther dared. Did they live happily ever after? It doesn't really matter. Mostly they came closer to God's heart. God is more interested in relationship than in how our lives go.  Like any lover, the worst sin in His eyes is to be forgotten. To be separated from us causes Him great pain. He loathes the things that stand between us.

One thing that has come between God and me is my expectations of our relationship. All my life I've heard of the "victorious Christian life." Except for a few glimpses, I know no such life. "Victorious" implies order, control, and power, yet the God I know wants to turn my sense of things upside down. He is a wild man who blows through my life, determined to change me forever. Sometimes it seems all I can do is hang on and keep talking to Him.

God has taken me into the wilderness to experience desolation. There I learned loneliness, separation, and death. I tasted disappointment in God and watched my expectations crumble. But I have returned richer.

You see, until God grievously disappointed me, I loved Him out of circumstance. I prayed. He answered. But the day He withheld something from me was the day I really met Him. It was also the day I realized I could scream at Him and He wouldn't leave the room and slam the door. He had become more than real, and we are mysteriously linked for life.

God is clearly in love with me. His love is protective and passionate. It is forever. He is a God who is willing to risk withholding the things closest to my heart so that He can be truly loved and worshiped by me.

Some days, the price of this intimacy has felt too high. To be close to God requires dying a little at a time for a long time, to become a fool in the eyes of many. It is the ultimate battle, for it is a struggle with my own flesh and blood. Even my own heart lies.

Yet God lures me to the desert to make Himself known and to become—incredibly —God in me. He wants to dwell in me, be expressed through me, and to slowly remove everything that stands between us.

So I have come to see that this ultimate struggle is also something beautiful. It is my dance of destiny as a child of God.

It's late and I turn toward home. A night wind blows off the mountains and races through the pines, roaring like a lion. My heart beats fast as I stop to feel the air rush over me. . . .

My God how I long for the day when nothing stands between You and me. Then I will see You face-to-face. I will dance for joy. I will race with You down the mountains and roar like a lion.