Who would want to live there? Little food, water, noise, distraction, companionship, colour.
Just the vast starry skies, the sun by day, the moon by night.
And because no one would choose to live there, God sometimes forcibly herds us there, to reveal himself to us in that atmosphere so devoid of sensory stimulation.
I have not always lived in the desert.
I have had years of full diaries, every social invitation accepted, my head echoing with happy conversation.
This is a quiet period.
I could escape it, fill with it noise and activity, but I will not.
* * *
Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover? (Song of Solomon 8:5)
When we are in the desert, we get to know God. We learn to lean on him because there is little else to lean on.
In Hosea 2, God allegorically talks about an unfaithful and distracted worshipper.
“Therefore I will block her path with thorn bushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor (Trouble) a door of hope.
There she will sing as in the days of her youth.”
Or, as it says in another translation, “Into the desert, I will lure her. There I will show her my love.”
So okay, Lord, I will willingly be lured into the desert. Dance with me there. Show me your love.