"Who Is this who comes up from the Wilderness leaning upon her Beloved?"
Song of Solomon 8:5
"Come away with me," the whisper was faint and overpowered by the noises around me, but so deep I felt it nudge the core of my spirit. "Why would I want to go away? Everything is fine where we are." A thousand voices flooded my ears in that moment. I quickly became angry. "My family is here. My friends are here. My LIFE is here. No, I won't come away with you." The thoughts were half my own, the other half almost delivered to me like a baby being spoon fed its mashed carrots. Reluctant at first, I eventually gave in to the impending pressure of emotion rushing over me. First confusion, then frustration. "Who does He think He is? Requiring such an imposition on my behalf? What happened to 'I have plans to prosper you?' and 'I will give you the desires of your heart?'"
The thoughts were foreign to me at first. Absurd sounding in my own ears. The second voice came quieter than before, like a vapor that had faded into the vast expanse of atmosphere, creating but a wind chime ringing in my ears. "Come. I have something to show you." Fear overwhelmed me in that moment as I considered the costs of his request. "NO." An eerie shriek rung violently in my head, much louder than the voices before. "You can't be trusted." Ah, were those words really my own? Even I felt the sting of the harsh exchange. I thought about it for a moment then resolved that it was all my imagination. Questions such as those would be reserved for the stronger leaders; those like Moses, David, Paul, Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Elliot, Francis Chan. Not me. An average, modern, American girl.
Which has me wondering if my response had been different, would I still be here now, having just spent the past months of my life lost in the wilderness, thirsty for water, hungry for food, desperate for some relief? Psalm 42:7 says as deep cries out to deep. I was a deer panting for the water brooks. I guess the only way to make a deer thirsty is to remove its original source of water. Take away the streams it worshiped. You said come to me you who are thirsty, weary, and heavy burdened. But I was reluctant that you could really be enough.
One day soon I will peer the horizon from the mountaintops, seeing all I just came from, leaving me speechless that I was able to survive it. I was peering over the edge of a high mountain, only this time I was not alone. There was a thick and tangible presence encompassing me. I could not quite pinpoint the exact moment it appeared, but once it had, I could no longer remember or envision life without it.
The walk has been arduous. Painful. Tiresome. The Lord has taken me into the wilderness, away from the world, apart from my friends and family and the life I grew to idolize, to show me His heart. He couldn't do it in the world. No. The voices were too overpowering for His soft whisper. He brought me into the wilderness to make me unshakable. I had just come from slavery and was not yet ready to enter the Promised land. There had to be transition. A season of preparation to my new found freedom. I never dreamed of the heights I would reach, but it was only because of the depths I experienced with him.
So when you ask, "Who is this who comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved? There under the apple tree I awakened you,"
You will know.