Leaving the church, it’s wilderness time.
How are you doing? I’m doing just fine!
But that isn’t true; I’m just being polite;
Life feels quite bleak, more darkness than light.
Leaving the pews, religion cast out.
Wilderness walking, but then comes the doubt.
Depression took hold with weakness & tears;
An enemy ready to fan all my fears!
My mind grasps at straws; I think, “I’ll go back”.
Whispers at midnight, say “You’re on the wrong track!”
I can hardly hang on; life’s right on the brink,
My eyes now off Jesus, I’m starting to sink!
I’ve a mortgage to pay & offspring with troubles,
Problems surround me, bursting the bubbles!
I feel that just maybe I need some people,
So, I turn back to Egypt, the place with a steeple!
Once more I am plastic, I am sat in a pew.
I’m constrained & restrained & nothing is new!
I’ve been here before, I’m feeling the stress,
It’s always the same, I have to confess!
We all look so perfect, in our Sunday best;
We listen like puppets, not truth telling lest,
The man in the pulpit, the one pulling the strings,
Doesn’t like what we say, the conflict it brings.
I’m muzzled, I’m silenced, this price is too great!
I’ve got to get out, get out of this state.
My mind is made up & I dash for the door,
The strings of this puppet fall to the floor!
Now alone once again, just with the Lord.
I’ll listen to Him, with my spiritual sword.
He wanted to test the depths of my heart,
Would I love and obey Him, as I did at the start?
When there’s no one around, no one to take heed,
When I’m alone in the world, still feeling a need;
A need for attention & fellowship sweet,
Yet still alone, I must sit at His feet.
He sees all the tears & desires un-met,
He knows how I struggle & says, “Do not fret,
I’m with you always, to the end of the age,
Take up your cross daily”; now let’s turn the page.
Turn to the Lord only, listen to His voice.
Pray in my closet, He will make me rejoice.
I can stand in the power of His awesome might,
Then the enemy flees when engaged in this fight.
This battle’s eternal, I must fight to the death;
The death of the flesh ends with my last breath.
I must never give up & never give in,
Keep holding to Jesus, as I strive against sin.
Through this wilderness time the Lord will provide.
He’s always been waiting to draw close to my side.
His plans, they are perfect, He’ll harm me never;
I’m safe in His love, I can trust Him forever.
Written By Helen at Grain of Wheat Blog © If sharing poem, please keep this credit with it. Thank you.
What a year I have had! I feel stronger now & am praising the Lord for leading me to new websites & blogs that are helping me progress in my faith. As you can perceive from the above poem, that I have just written, I went back to “church-going” for about eight months during this last year, but am now out again. It has been a bit of a yo-yo departure from churchianity for me over a number of years, but I am led to believe that this is true of many believers who hear the Lord’s call to leave, when they have been “attendees” for many years. It is not an easy thing to do & going back sometimes seems like a good idea. I think it has just confirmed more definitely for me that presently I now need to stay away from organised, institutional churches entirely.
I have just read the book of Hosea, and I noticed the following passage.
Hosea 2:13-16 & 19-20
“I will punish her for the days of the Baals to which she burned incense.
She decked herself with her earrings and jewellery, and went after her lovers;
But Me she forgot,” says the Lord.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, I will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
“And it shall be, in that day,” says the Lord,
“That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer call Me ‘My Master…’
“I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.”
This says to me that the Lord wanted me (& all His followers) to stop longing for/lusting for/setting our hearts upon ANYTHING else in this world that comes before Him (and that has included “church-going” & my “I need fellowship” desires). Hosea’s unfaithful wife was going after other men, in the example, but the Lord was using their lives to demonstrate that the people who ought to have been faithful to the Lord, were in fact longing for other types of spiritual experiences – the Baals. Yet this passage has the wonderful message, “I will allure her, I will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her.”
So too, I believe, the Lord is alluring and drawing His chosen people out of the institutional churches, many of which are being unfaithful to Him. This passage has the wonderful comfort that the Lord is doing this, even to an unfaithful church, and that it is due to His lovingkindness, mercy and faithfulness that He woos & pursues us in this manner.
The phrase, “She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt,” is proving true to me. I have been able to sing praises to the Lord with the joy of the Lord, just on my own at home. When my thoughts waiver, and I begin to think back with longing to congregational singing and company, the Lord graciously and mercifully leads me to just the right website information to keep me moving forward instead of going back yet again.
I am remembering last year, just prior to starting this blog that the Lord caused me to notice a flock or murmuration of starlings over the sea & how I prayed that the Lord’s true body would all hear His voice to work in unison of the Spirit just as these birds incredibly flew in wonderful, awesome formations. (See home page here for reference to this). I am learning that little by little, one by one, the body of Christ is hearing His voice, even though we are scattered throughout the world. There is no institutional organisation doing this, there are maybe so few of us involved that only the Lord can see the wonderful patterns of us together, a body, hearing & obeying His voice, led only by His Holy Spirit, flying freely in formation, pleasing in His sight.
So for those of you out there who are newish to this wilderness time I would also like to share the following article that resonated with me. Hope it blesses you likewise.
NO FELLOWSHIP? NO PROBLEM!
Chip’s website can be accessed from here
I have also found the following interesting quote on a website by Tricia Tillin called, “Birthpangs.org” – You can read it at A Call To Maturity here :-
“God is desperately trying, it seems to me, to produce maturity in the Body. Since people will not choose that for themselves, he’s had to set up an environment in which maturity is developed faster than normal – how? – ISOLATION. In the isolation tank, in solitary confinement, that’s when you find out if you really have the ability to stay the course or not.
Yes, you can easily stand when all your friends are around you. Yes, you know a lot when your elders tell you about the bible every week (if they do) but what happens when you are on your own? Can you still maintain your spiritual life?
Can you still hear from God, know good from evil, and stay true to God on your own? The wilderness experience has always been a test-bed for faithfulness, in Jesus as well as others. We are in a wilderness for the same reason – to develop the hard skin that we need to survive.”
May the Lord bless you as you seek to live for Him in the wilderness and beyond.
You may also like the YouTube exhortation by Sharon Johnson on MotivatingU2Win called The Wilderness – Why You Must Survive.
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