Waiting in Wilderness: So Strange and Wild a Guest

In the dark, a child might ask, What is the world?
just to hear his sister
promise, An unfinished wing of heaven,
just to hear his brother say,
A house inside a house,
but most of all to hear his mother answer,
One more song, then you go to sleep.
How could anyone in that bed guess
the question finds its beginning
in the answer long growing
inside the one who asked, that restless boy,
the night’s darling?
Later, a man lying awake,
he might ask it again,
just to hear the silence
charge him, This night
arching over your sleepless wondering,
this night, the near ground
every reaching-out-to overreaches,
just to remind himself
out of what little earth and duration,
out of what immense good-bye,
each must make a safe place of his heart,
before so strange and wild a guest
as God approaches.
~Li-Young Lee “Nativity”

“What’s wrong with the world?” asked The Times of famous authors.
“Dear Sir,
I am.

Yours, G.K. Chesterton

I’m not ashamed that I still ask the hard questions, just as I did when I was a child, lying in bed, fearful in the dark. Some call it a lack of faith: if I truly believed, I would trust completely, so asking such questions would be “out of the question.”

Yet God throughout scripture encourages questions, listens to lament, isn’t intimidated by uncertainty and weakness. He waits patiently for His people to make their hearts a safe place for Him to dwell – a place of wings and songs and awe and worship – even when resounding with questions.

My heart is a womb where our strange and wild God seeks to reside in this world. “Why me?” I ask, pondering yet another hard question in the dark.
“Why not you?” comes His response: a question for which He awaits my answer.

4 thoughts on “Waiting in Wilderness: So Strange and Wild a Guest

  1. One of my favorite verses:

    Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
    Prepare me a bed, soft, undefiled,
    A quiet chamber set apart
    For You to dwell within my heart.

    “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come”,
    a 15-verse hymn written for his five-year-old son, Hans by Martin Luther in 1531!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily, your thought, ‘My heart is a womb,” is especially lovely in its inclusivity and overall meaning.
    I don’t recall ever having read anything quite like it before – when used as an ‘invitation.”
    But, then, you often surprise us with your Spirit-fed interpretations.
    In fact, Emily, your six-week Lenten theme this year is outstanding in its timing and relevance re the ‘darkness’
    and ‘wilderness’ that have enveloped our entire world.
    If you ever decide to collect all posts and publish them separately in a single volume, you might find an interested,
    enthusiastic audience – not just because of the Lenten theme, but for much of our nation’s recent history.

    Liked by 1 person

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