Wednesday, November 6, 2019


We know that the Bible is full of good news, and some of the most encouraging words in all the Bible come in Hosea 11, where we are told, "Judah still wanders with God." 

It's encouraging, at least to someone like me. You see, I'm one of those who still feels lost a lot of the time, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. Some days, I don't know where I'm going. Other days, it's hard to see where I've come from. Quite often, I don't even know where I'm at. It's hard to get my bearings on life in this fallen world, and just as soon as I think I've got something figured out, I look up and think to myself, "Didn't I already pass that tree once?"

Sometimes, I tell ya', it's like I'm just going in circles, hoping I end up somewhere, feeling like I'm in the middle of nowhere.


And then, there are these words from the prophet: "Judah still wanders with God."

Judah had spent her time wandering with God in the wilderness with the rest of Israel. Between slavery in Egypt and milk and honey in the Promised Land, Judah took every crazy turn. She sculpted a calf to worship at the foot of the mountain, cried out for water, whined for meat and bread. She kept talking about going back to Egypt, where at least she knew where she was.

Then Judah settled in the Promised Land, taking the southern part of the kingdom of Israel. She came to the very place where God had led her, where God had taken her. She had everything God has promised - an abundant, life-giving, overflowing land of her own where she could settle and be at peace from the enemies God had enabled her to defeat. She broke free from sinful Israel and established her own king, trying to hold onto some semblance of righteousness even while the people of God as a whole were falling away. She was the promise within the promise of God, in her own land, in her own place.

And in a prophecy regarding the unfaithfulness of God's people, the lostness of His beloved, this little whisper of what hope still is: Judah still wanders with God.

This people lost, then found, then lost again still wanders with God. Wherever they are, they're not alone there. Whatever they've gotten wrong, they're still trying. They're holding onto whatever they have left of the faith that brought them this far, and they're doing it - out there in the middle of nowhere, neither past nor promise on the horizons, going in circles, wondering if they already passed that tree at least once...Judah is wandering with God.

So am I. I hope, so are you.

Because we think this whole faith thing is about where we're settled. We think we ought to have landed somewhere by now. We get down on ourselves when we feel our most lost, as if that's going to help anything. We think that if we're wandering, we've somehow gone astray...we've somehow forfeited everything.

But maybe, just maybe, it's not so dire. Maybe it's possible, even when we're wandering, to be wandering with God. Maybe, like Judah, we're not alone. Maybe, like Judah, we're still trying. Maybe, like Judah, we're holding onto whatever we have of the faith that brought us this far, and we're doing it. It's not pretty. It's not a straight line. I wouldn't really draw any maps off of this journey that we're on right now, but here we are, right in the thick of it, right in the middle of nowhere...with God. And isn't that something?

It is. It's something. Even in a place so hopelessly void of anything, so frustratingly full of nothing, that's something.

So if you're wandering right now, it's okay. Really. It's not as bad as it seems. like Judah.

Keep wandering with God.

No comments:

Post a Comment