March 2022

Out of the Wilderness

I have been in the wilderness of post-surgery that some call “recovery.” Not having much experience in this terrain, I have discovered some unexpected truths about myself. I am not as independent as I thought, nor am I as prone to self-pity as I feared. These two things may seem diametrically opposed, but allow me a moment to shed some light.

I think I have often equated independence with dignity, and there is nothing like needing physical care of the most undignified kind to reveal the errancy of this view. In “recovery,” there is a great deal of focus on managing pain, conserving energy, and accepting the reality of physical dependence upon the care of another. Dignity is bestowed on the needy by the gracious ministry of the caregiver, and if accepted, dignity will supplant the human tendency of self-pity because the noble act of receiving care requires an acknowledgement of the one giving it.

I am reminded of the verse in Song of Solomon: “Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8:5 NKJV) In this life, we are often in a state of “recovery.” We are dealing with pain, stewarding resources, and coming to terms with our absolute dependence upon the Lord, our Savior. If we do not desire and embrace dependence, we will not be able to receive the dignity of belonging to Him, and we will be prone to self-absorption in our effort to maintain our own value and perspective.

Value is not inherent. Value is placed. As His chosen people, we have been given the privilege of always needing Him to carry out His noble calling and purpose in our lives. 1 Peter 2:9 says this: “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.” There is no one more beautiful than the one who is walking out of the wilderness having learned to lean upon her beloved.

Dear reader, I pray that you learn the wilderness way of dependence. The children of Israel were miraculously cared for, guided, and sustained during their forty years in the wilderness, and all but two of them died there because they failed to believe and lean on the Caregiver. May you and I accept our need of Him and receive the noble calling of constant and utter dependence. May we show forth only His excellencies. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Until next week, beloved, lean upon Him and embrace His desire for you.

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