Tender Words in the Wilderness

Waterfalls at Gem Pool on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Waterfalls at Gem Pool on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

There is an incredible verse in Hosea.  He says, with God speaking,

Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, I will speak tenderly to her and to her heart.” (Hosea 2:14)

Twin Lakes along the Beartooth Highway, Wyoming

Twin Lakes along the Beartooth Highway, Wyoming

I wonder sometimes when God brings us into the physical wilderness, how much it is that He just wants to speak tenderly to us.  I don’t mean that he makes things miserable for us so that He can then speak tenderly; I mean that in His goodness He draws us to the place where He knows we can hear His voice.

Spires along the cutoff trail between the Druid Arch Trail and Chesler Park in Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Spires along the cutoff trail between the Druid Arch Trail and Chesler Park in Canyonlands National Park, Utah

In the wilderness, God doesn’t have to shout to us.  He doesn’t have to thunder from heaven to get our attention.  He can whisper, like to Elijah in the cave (1 Kings 19:12).  In the whisper is tenderness.  Not mamsy-pamsy gushiness with nothing more than words, but there is strength and a burning fire of love for us in that tenderness.  Behind every tender word is a heart of compassion and an intention for our good (Jeremiah 29:11).

Along the Face Trail in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Wyoming

Along the Face Trail in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Wyoming

Not only does God speak tenderly to us in the wilderness, but He also speaks to our heart.  Sometimes it’s our hearts that need the tenderness even more than our ears (or spiritual ears).  This journey called life passes through battles and ugly situations as well as green pastures and quiet streams.  It’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4), and it’s the tenderness of God that heals the scars and the wounds so that we can fellowship with Him.

The Snowy Beartooth Mountains from the Clay Butte Lookout, Wyoming

The Snowy Beartooth Mountains from the Clay Butte Lookout, Wyoming

Do you remember a time when God spoke tenderly to you?  Usually for me it’s in the middle of my own perceived failure, but He’s there.  Maybe it’s not ok, but He doesn’t seem to think that it’s the catastrophe I think it is.  He doesn’t berate me for my fears, but His perfect love in His tenderness sets me free from those fears.

Badlands along the Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro State Park, Texas

Badlands along the Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro State Park, Texas

In the wilderness – physical or my own perceived wilderness – He speaks tenderly to me and reminds me of His goodness and His faithfulness.  When He speaks tenderly, we are made new.

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