Often in an old movie, some cantankerous character bellies up to a bar somewhere and an endearing barkeep inquires, “What’s you pleasure?” The sentiment is that the person being served is looking for something to help mollify the soul and/or soothe the senses at the end of a difficult day or journey.
We get weary. A long day at work. A stressful day of caring for another. A difficult day of observing the world you know and love being rent asunder by careless acts or intentional rancorous behavior.
When you get weary and have experienced wilderness, what’s your pleasure? Mine is to have a God moment; to get out of my own way enough to remind me God is with me where I am. As the refocus takes place, I begin to see God all around me. A hymn that speaks to me at a time like this is “Have no fear little flock.” In it we are encouraged to have no fear, have good cheer, praise the Lord, and raise a thankful heart to God. Why? Because we have a Father in heaven who chooses to give the kingdom, to keep you forever, to heal you, and stay close, working with you. It’s not so much a “fake it” until you make it experience, but more of a “faith it” until you realize life’s purpose and value.
Wilderness activity isn’t just a reality we encounter, its been around awhile. The Bible is full of wilderness stories. Moses and the Israelites, Noah and his floating family, Jesus after his baptism, the Woman at the well, Paul’s conversion experience – going from blind to sight by faith. Consider the wilderness of leprosy, and the gift of healing. Think of Mary’s wilderness as a pregnant teenager, and yet she sings how her soul magnifies the Lord. Talk about something to mollify the soul, her faith really stepped up to the plate on that day.
Weary and in the Wilderness, we are not alone. For one, other people of faith have been there. But more importantly, God meets us there, where we are. In fact – in faith – God is there with you now. Though a mindset of faith, we see God and a way through the wilderness.
A book I am currently reading is titled Journeying in the Wilderness, by Terri Martinson Elton. In it she compares every-day life with family trips in the wilderness. She says, “At home resources are abundant and close at hand. In the wilderness, tools are limited, and good judgement saves lives.”
Then she shares this thought, “At the end of each wilderness adventure, I pack my wilderness mindset away with the camping gear – but what if forming faith in the 21st century is more like navigating the wilderness than being at home?” (Fortress Press, p. 14).
No matter the wilderness, what matters is God. Keep your wilderness gear (faith) at the ready, and walk anew, knowing what we will see and do is part of God’s pleasure to heal you, stay close to you, and work with you.