Wilderness Seasons

Hi friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but I’m so glad to be back! Last week I hit day 40 of a journey I felt the Lord invite me on a few weeks ago. It was a time of disconnecting, and a time where I simply followed Him. Into the quiet…and ultimately, into a place of what felt like total silence.

Not many words were spoken over this time and space. Not many words from me, and honestly, not many that I heard from Him to me, either. But I followed where He led, as I was reminded that sometimes, the Spirit leads into the wilderness for purposes known only to Him.

There’s so much that happened as a result of being obedient to those 40 days. But it wasn’t anything I had expected. If I can be honest, none of my lingering questions were answered during this time. No booming revelation pierced through to enlighten my heart and soul. No specific direction or clarity came as to my next assignment. (Which is something I’ve desperately been seeking Him about.) My dreams at night even came to a complete pause. And for those of you who know me well, or read my blog often, you’ll know that’s quite unusual for me.

Oh, I went in hoping all those things would take place! But from the very first day, when  I stood at the starting line of this journey, I heard only one question before I even took the first step,

“Do you love Me more than these?”

And as I stood there, locking eyes with the One I love, stunned at my own presumptions of what this 40 days was going to be all about, I could only reply, “Yes, Lord. You know I do.” My fingers loosening, the lists and sheets of paper with all my neatly crafted bullet points and all “my goals” for these 40 days falling freely to the floor. I quickly discarded all “my needs” and “my questions” and all “my expectations” and presumptions and simply….followed.

Friends, it was so quiet and there were times I felt as if nothing was happening. I heard: nothing. I saw: nothing. I felt: nothing. But I can see now, a transformation was taking place. One I don’t think I would have even had the words to have asked for.

Seasons, places, and spaces of time where we don’t hear Him or feel Him like we’re accustomed to (or expect to) reveal so much more about us than they do about Him. Can we and will we still pursue Him even when there’s silence? And in the midst of that silence can we and will we follow Him without becoming restless or anxious? Without changing our mind about who He is and His good nature towards us? Can we trust that He knows better than we do what it is we need? And will we be motivated by our love for Him instead of letting what we want from Him begin to define our relationship?

Since then, the activity has picked back up. I’m hearing again – though differently. I’m seeing again – though differently. I’m perceiving again, and sensing again – though differently. And yes, my dreams are once again coming back. It’s as though I’ve woken up from a deep sleep, and something’s changed.

I felt led to share all of this to encourage some of you who have felt things “go dark” at times in your walk with God. Some of you have experienced (or maybe are experiencing right at this moment) the very thing I’m talking about – you don’t hear, you don’t feel, you don’t see. The cry of your heart continues to be, “How long, Lord? How long?” I want to encourage you friend, don’t despair when things go quiet. Remember, God did some pretty remarkable things in the lives of Adam and Abram when He caused a deep sleep to fall upon them! Not to mention what took place in the life of Jesus after His 40 days in the wilderness!

Just continue following Him and don’t let anything shake the fact that He is right there with you. Instead, use these times to retrain your spiritual senses so that you can learn how to be aware of His presence both on the mountains and in the valleys. Through the pillar of cloud by day and through the pillar of fire at night.  And know that when you emerge on the other side of it…because you will…you will be changed.

I should also share – another thing that was a great strength to me during this wilderness time was abiding more deeply in the Scriptures. Please be Spirit-led in wherever you feel the Lord leading you to read. But for me, during this time, I couldn’t seem to leave the books of Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy, especially. I found myself tracing and retracing the wilderness journeys of our patriarchs. When we hit those moments where we can’t hear what He is saying, we can rest in what He has said. And when we don’t know what He is doing, we can draw strength from what He has done.

Thanks for reading and listening and thanks for your kind words while I was out. There are great things ahead and I’m ready! Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly above all that we could ever ask or think…according to HIS POWER working in us….to Him be all the glory, and all the honor and all the praise.

Linda G. Riddle