Wilderness

I am currently reading Rachel Held Evans’ final book Inspired. I have been meaning to read it ever since she died last year and after enjoying her other books Year of Biblical Womanhood and Searching for Sunday. She had such a beautiful way of writing and it will always be a shame that it was silenced so soon.

Anyway, I have just finished reading the chapter on the deliverance stories and their importance in the bible. She makes the point that these stories mean so much more to certain people because of their circumstances; the language and story of the exodus from Egypt resonated down the centuries to the African slaves stolen from the homes and trafficked across an ocean, where they and their descendants toiled from birth until death, many never knowing freedom. A story of liberation would have meant so much more to them than it does to a white boy from Britain. Evans crafts a fascinating chapter centring around the idea that the wilderness represents moments of change or being lost from God or moments or the journey between two points.

This got me thinking about my own journey. I feel like I am definitely in a wilderness sort of place currently. A lot of the securities in my life, or ones that appeared to be securities fell away or at least became less secure last year. The future for me is uncertain, wild, without a clear path of where to go.

This is something that I think comes up a lot for me, but also many people of my generation: where am I going? We have been brought up into a world where all the usual goals of life (good steady job, married in your twenties, two and a half kids) are still present, but fewer and fewer of us are able to achieve them. My parents were both married by their mid-twenties and had me before they were thirty; I am 26 and single. They were both employed in salaried jobs; I am very much part of the gig economy where zero hour contracts are the norm. And it isn’t just my parents generation either; I have attended four weddings in the past two years and all but one of the individuals getting married were younger than me.

I think God is definitely taking me through the wilderness. But for me, who likes to be in control of what he is doing, this is a bit of a nightmare. Even if what I end up doing is nothing, it is still my choice, and besides, there is no pillar of fire outside of my window last time I looked. But I know that I need to trust in the LORD and not lean on my own understanding. I just need to close my eyes, take a breath and walk humbly with my God.

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