I’ve made it no secret that this last year has been tough. In fact, I’ve made plans to see a Biblical counselor periodically over the next few months to make sure I have appropriate coping strategies lined up. It’s already been immensely helpful. Between that and a surprising overabundance of time to myself, I’m miles ahead of where I was emotionally six weeks ago, even though many of the major stressors are still around.
I wrote today’s sonnet shortly before Christmas. In fact, it was the day before my first counseling session. We had a guest pastor that day—Pat Quinn, counseling director at another area church—and the sermon was contrasting the insanity of Nebuchadnezzar and that of John the Baptist. In brief, both dwelt in the wilderness for some time: Nebuchadnezzar because God drove him there, and John the Baptist because the Lord led him there. And of course there are tons of other Biblical narratives about wilderness wanderings: Moses, Elijah, Jesus himself, each for their own reasons. I wrote today’s sonnet during that sermon, almost as a prelude to working through some of my own issues.
(As a side note, I hesitated to mention that I’ve been seeking counseling not because there’s any shame in it, but because I know a large number of people who suffer from medically diagnosable depression and want to be sensitive to them. My own struggles right now are all circumstantial and as such the scripturally-based methods I’m using are what I need, but I also want to be clear that I firmly believe in the common grace of medications to fix chemical imbalances as well.)
Originally written December 16, 2018
Sometimes God drives us to the wilderness:
A punishment for lack of faith or pride,
A place to burn off all our wickedness,
And there we’re led, and there we will abide
Until we—finally—are forced to trust
God’s leading, and His holy sovereignty;
Until our malformed dreams are turned to dust,
No more believing our divinity.
But—ah!—sometimes a faithful few will choose
To volunteer to live in those wild lands;
To lose wealth, homes, stability—to lose
All earthly safety to, from God’s own hands,
Be freely given honey, locusts, bread;
To forsake pride and receive grace instead.