Wilderness Experience with God
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her [Israel], Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her.” - Hosea 2:14
The COVID 19 pandemic has changed the world. We have already lost several human lives. The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns continue to disrupt our ‘comfortable’, ‘busy’ and ‘structured’ lives in an unprecedented way. COVID19 has impacted our work, travel, shopping and name it - almost everything!
Surprisingly, alongside, it has also sparked ‘God talk’, such as, where is God in all this? Or God has brought judgment on humanity, these are signs of the second coming of Christ? It is so sad to say that we, including most of the world, seem to be desiring for God’s presence, providence and protection only when a tragedy of such great devastation takes place in our lives and community.
Earlier most people saw God’s presence by looking at God’s beautiful handiwork in nature and attributed God to be the creator, the preserver and the destroyer. Sadly, things have become so different now that we are recognizing God’s presence not in beauty but in the horrible things around us. How strange, so quickly things have changed - we have moved from a very busy life to a life that is almost a standstill.
As we read in the above scripture text, the prophet Hosea said to the people of Israel that God will allure her by bringing her into the wilderness, to speak comfort to her. I was surprised with three words in this text.
- Firstly, ‘allure’ which means Israel was so busy that she did not know where she will land,
- Secondly, she is to land, that is in the ‘wilderness’, which means in a difficult and challenging place.
- The final word is uplifting. It says God does not want to proclaim harsh words or pronounce curses in the wilderness but would like to comfort her (Israel) - the Church.
This is our God. We are in a very difficult period and our Lord assures us with his comforting presence. However, God’s presence is still there in the midst of chaos, fear and uncertainty and we need to recognise it - "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (Ps 46:10).
This pandemic in some sense has pressed the ‘reset’ button. Here is a wonderful opportunity to ‘restart’ our spiritual, social, church, family, physical, economic and community life. May God continue to guide and lead us to be faithful to Him even as we pass through this wilderness and experience God’s comfort, every day of our lives.
Dr Prasad D R J Phillips currently serves OCPRL as the Distance Learning Coordinator and Tutor with research interests in World Christianity, Missiology and Practical Theology.
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash