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A Land Where No One Travels

  • They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’Jeremiah 2:6 NIV

    When I read this section of Jeremiah, I feel so sad and guilty. I’m sad that the people of Israel forgot all of the care that God showed to them. I’m sad that God has to ask “What fault did your ancestors find in me…? (Jer 2:5, NIV) And I’m sad that God could still be asking this question today; He could be asking it of me. I think about how God led the Israelites of that time through the barren wilderness, through a land where no one travels and no one lives…only to be forgotten.

    But what about the guilty feelings? I feel guilty because I can easily identify with the people of that time. God has guided me through many external places of wilderness throughout my life and still I do not want to approach those places where no one travels and no one lives. Most of those places are not physical spaces that can be occupied by bodies, they are spaces that are located deep within myself – spaces where only God himself would travel.

    I stand at the edge of the void that I call myself. Everything darkens around me. I approach the void and feel a wind sucking me forward – the wind of all of my past mistakes, all of the times that I forgot about what God has done for me. I struggle to move away from the void. I don’t want to see what lies within it. I cannot withstand the force of the wind. I am pulled closer and closer to the edge; I turn my head not to look. I can take it no longer; I look. In the void I see fathers with their mouths open humiliating their children, infant death, poverty, family disability, fear, pain, anger, and shame. I look and am horrified. I want to turn away, but I feel invisible hands on my shoulders, not stopping me, but comforting. Those are the hands of Jesus. There is no sound but I know that He is speaking and quietly encouraging me even when I am trapped in a silent scream. Then I relax and let go and hear a faint voice that comes from somewhere deep inside the void, deep inside myself, “Come, jump, learn, grow.” I say, “No” but I can’t turn or walk away. Then I feel the invisible hands of Jesus once again. He exerts gentle pressure to make the leap and rely on Him to guide me safely through these frightening places. I take strength from His encouragement; I am intrigued by His voice. I jump. It is suffocating falling through the pain, the anger, and the shame. I hear the voice saying, “Close your eyes; don’t look, don’t feel, just have faith in me,” I do that; I close my eyes and push it all away as I continue to fall. The voice says, “Now you may open.” I open my eyes and see myself through Jesus’ eyes. I’m a small child just learning to walk. The world is scary and exciting all at the same time. Jesus stands before me with His arms open wide. I take a few teetering steps toward His outstretched arms and collapse into His embrace. The places that were so frightening before now seem livable. Even the wilderness can be inhabited when I have faith. I demonstrate that faith by venturing into the wild places of my being knowing that Jesus will see me through.

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Lissy Verghese
Lissy Verghese Thank you for the message!
March 23, 2015
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Andy Morthole
Andy Morthole You are talking about the way I view my life and the fears that overtake me. It is not pretty when you are shy and have a very public fears are generally groundless but I feel them anyway. It's very strange to live fearful of others. I was outgoing when I was younger but now I am at the point where I need to let go and let God take control. It is terrifying yet, when I finish the job and see that it has been completed correctly, I wonder why I worry so much. Anyway, thanks for your insightful words. Take care and blessings. 
March 23, 2015