So how many of you are familiar with your Judges 11:1-12:7. Jephthah was the son of a prostitute. His brother drove him out into the wilderness. They wanted him gone so they wouldn’t have to share his inheritance. Fleeing into the wilderness he gathered around him a gang of men, outlaws. This gang was full of powerful warriors. They spent time preparing and honing their skills. Jephthah was preparing and getting ready. When his former people, the ones who kicked out, who had treated him badly because his mother was a prostitute - the elders, the leaders of this community come to him and ask him to defeat their enemies. That time away allowed him to become the leader that Israel needed.
|RiverSong in Lake Geneva, WI|
As I was walking this morning with RiverSong to the lake, my IPod decided to play a prayer from the Wild Resource Group about this wilderness times, this waiting time. “On God alone I wait silently.” from There is One Among Us.
The wilderness time. You have been to the doctors, the tests have been run. The first prognosis was not good. You’ve done the treatment and now you wait. The answers will come, the results will be known. But right now. In this moment you wait. You stay in the wilderness between health and fear. But where you are heading you do not know. Not yet.
|Estes Park, Colorado|
The wilderness time. You are starting a new adventure. You have packed your stuff and bought the tickets. You have said all the important goodbyes, but it is not yet time to leave to start anew. You wait.
|Jackson Hole, Wyoming|
The wilderness time. You have lost your job. You have cleared your office and search and search but what is next is still ahead. Still unknown. What you do and how you will support your family is unknown. It’s a wilderness time. A time to reevaluate and rediscover who you are. It’s a time of anxiety and fear and hope for what’s next. It’s a time of waiting and preparation.
The times when you feel rejected and yet God is preparing for you something unexpected. God has before you something that you couldn’t have predicted or wanted. But before you can get there you have to spend that time in the wilderness. The time when you have prepared and said the honest prayer, the deep serious prayer. But you don’t yet know the answer.
As John Bell prays:
God, keep safe all who wait,
and give them the patience and a sense of proportion;
for we are not in charge of time.
And we believe you have a purpose for every season,
even the waiting one.