Others are led to the desert to be tested. Obediently they follow the Spirit into the barren wilderness. Step by step, steadily plodding forward.
A pillar of cloud by day.
A pillar of fire by night.
As the days stretch endlessly, seamlessly, the path loses its definition, blurring into rocks. Each step a step of faith.
The sun beats down mercilessly. The wind whipping sand, stinging the cheeks and burning the eyes. And still the cloud moves forward. Deeper into the unknown. Pushing boundaries of nature and the soul.
The trail of the forefathers has long been erased in this unforgiving land.
The Spirit beckons heavenward, up the craggy side of an ancient mountain. Muscles burn with each step, straining forward, upward. But mountaintops bring hope.
God’s glory dwells on mountaintops.
He speaks to his people on mountaintops.
The climb continues. Breathless, drained, one final push and the edge has been cleared.
A flood of new mercies.
The delicate hope-bird alights in the chest.
Hungry, desperate eyes look beyond the rocky ledge, straining for a glimpse of the Promised Land.
But what awaits is not milk and honey, not a speck of green nor a drop of water.
Instead a daunting sea of brown, waves of rocky hilltops cresting over rocky hilltops, the sun burning the edges into a hazy fog all the wayto the horizon.
Then the voice of temptation speaks:
To whom will you sing praise?