When Hard Times Linger

Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? – Song of Songs 8:5 NIV

photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel

It’s been a weary week.

The kind where you’re spread thin with too little sleep and too much fear and worry.

I wrote these words two weeks ago and here they are again.

Sometimes we live with weariness longer than we want.

Days turn into weeks, and weeks into seasons and hard times linger. It’s like walking in the wilderness where every day seems to unfold a territory we have yet to travel. A place mixed with beauty and fear, purpose and unpredictability.

I think it’s possible to despise the wilderness if we’re stuck there too long. We become tired of the hurting and crying parts and wonder when things will ever be right again. We’re sick of how old and weathered it all seems. Our hopes are full of brambles, our joy is stuck in swamps, and fear always howls from somewhere overhead.

Most days we breathe only to endure. We’re certain living is for other people. People who know more than we do about peace and mercy and hope.

But what if there was a purpose to this wilderness?

What if it held a hidden gem we can’t see because we’re so busy hating where we are?

What if this wilderness place was meant for something completely un-wild?

Like learning how to lean.

Leaning may seem to require little skill, but if we are to come up out of our wilderness – out to find rest in green pastures (Psalm 23:2) and be like a spring whose waters never fail (Isaiah 58:11), leaning must mean a lot more.

I believe leaning starts when we shift our senses from what we can see and grasp, to what we cannot hold. When we turn our sights away from our forests and caverns and mountains, and rely on our faith instead. Charles Spurgeon once wrote:

It is true your senses cannot perceive Him, but your senses are less to be relied upon than your faith, for senses may be mistaken, but the faith of God’s elect errs not. God makes that which faith depends upon to be more real than anything which the senses can perceive; Christ Jesus is with you, though you hear not His voice, and see not His face—He is with you. Try to grasp that truth of God, and to realize it clearly, for you will never lean until you do.

To lean on something means we are certain of its presence. We would never lean against a wall or on a friend unless we were certain they were there – positive of their existence and nearness.

So what does it take to believe in the existence, presence and nearness of God?

A mustard seed of faith. A tiny seed of conviction for things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) that so moves us to heap our whole selves upon our Beloved God. To cast upon him our sorrows and tears, failures and pain. To let him love us more than we can ever love ourselves.

We must all do our time in the wilderness, for faith needs wild-ness to grow. The question is, will we simply hate the wild, or will we let faith have its way, and come up out of it leaning on our Beloved?

3 Replies

  1. This is so good Raye, a constant reminder to me, especially now, that I’m fighting cancer. Jesus has been so Sweet. He has been by my side consistently for me to lean on.

    1. Raye Wortel

      I’m so glad this post encourages you. Praying for you my beautiful friend.

  2. Devery

    I’m leaning. Thanks!

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