I smelled awful. So awful, in fact, that when I got into my parents car, my dad rolled down the windows. I’ve had some sweaty days since, but nothing has ever quite equaled that day.
I was eighteen, and it was a week before I was to begin my freshman year of college. I had just spent ten days hiking in the wilderness, the Adirondack Mountains of New York to be exact. No showers, no deodorant, no soap--only a good swim in a mountain lake every now and then.
You can well imagine how fragrant I had become.
Keep in mind, I had never been hiking before. I had camped a little with my family, and while I wasn’t a high-maintenance female, I was far from athletic. So why I chose to go on the most physically grueling adventure I had yet encountered still eludes me, but knowing me, I had romanticized the idea until all of the physical and psychological demand had receded into the background of my mind. All I could see from the safety and comfort of my own bedroom, as I filled out my forms and packed my bags, was the mountaintop views that would soon be in front of me.
But the wilderness is rarely a friendly place.
Frustrated, tired, homesick. Tears--and more tears. I came to the end of myself many times over.
But it’s an experience I would repeat a thousand times again.
Distractions abound, but not in the wilderness. It strips away the non-essentials, leading us to urgent communion, not because we are desperate for answers but because we are desperate for God. We don’t often choose the wilderness, but when we do, we find ourselves in the company of prophets. More importantly, we find ourselves in the company of Christ, as one led by the Holy Spirit to the most unexpected of places.
Why? To prepare. The wilderness crushes what is useless, purifies the passions of our heart, and clarifies calling.
My challenge to you is to take the next thirty-one days to willingly step into the wilderness, to keep at the forefront only what is essential. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you. What is the distraction that keeps you from knowing Him? Call it out and set it down. Take time to be in His presence, take time to be in the Word. Quiet the noise, dismantle the distractions.
Fall in love with Him again. Know that He is holy, worthy and true. Let nothing be too precious to lay on the altar before Him.
It is the only way revival will come.
But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9, NKJV)
*To my beloved Scott--powerful message this morning, love. The wilderness, when initiated by the Holy Spirit, becomes a beautiful place. A dying place, but a beautiful place. I love you, most all, because He is your first love.