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Ten years ago yesterday I boarded a plane and headed to California. And Lake Tahoe quickly became one of my favorite places, with Emerald Bay being my top spot to visit. I never got over the view of the Lake from there, especially at sunrise (pictured above).
One day after finishing a hike near Emerald Bay, I remember sitting down and pulling out my journal. I would often try to write something after a hike or when sitting in a place I wanted to remember (a habit I should really get back in the practice of). I wrote of the beauty that surrounded me, but one sentence sticks out to me now as I read what I wrote ten years ago:
“The wilderness holds so much magnificence.”
I know I wrote this about the literal wilderness that I was sitting in - but I can’t help but also think of the spiritual wildernesses we go through. I was only a few months graduated from college at the time of writing this and while I knew Tahoe City would be my place for a few months, I knew nothing beyond that. I admit that I hate not knowing the future. But I know that if I knew it all - I would have no reason to put all my trust and faith into God. I would just go about doing things on my own, in my own power because I already knew the outcome.
In the wilderness of the unknown, part of the magnificence, the splendor, is having the faith to believe that God is good. And watching how He proves Himself over and over. But when in a spiritual wilderness, unlike a physical one, it can be hard to look for the goodness that is there…
I think often when I get stuck wandering in that wilderness, of what God told the Israelites in Deuteronomy.
"'You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.'" Deuteronomy 2:3
Why were they wandering in the first place? They had rejected God, ignored His authority, disobeyed. If I’m truly honest, my moments of spiritual wildernesses can be traced back to one or more of those things.
But where’s the magnificence? “Turn north.”
The goodness is that He gave them a new way to go. New direction. Guidance. God loves us too much to allow us to keep moving in aimless circles. He has a direction, purpose, for each of us - so we must continue moving, even through the wilderness. But a cool thing? Another piece of splendor and goodness?
Once we claim Him as ours, as Lord, and begin walking in that new direction - His love and Spirit is what will constantly encircle us.
We can’t outrun it, can’t escape it. And no matter where we go, whether it be cool gardens, dry deserts, or some other wilderness, still there He will surround us with His splendor. His goodness.
Turn north. Let Him surprise you with what lies ahead when you do.
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