WHO IS THIS?
IT IS ME.
“Who is this that comes up from the wilderness,
leaning on her beloved?”
Song of Solomon 8:5
This passage is one of my life’s verses. I would like to share it with you.
There are times when we have to go through a wilderness experience. It’s perhaps a painful situation or just a challenging one.
Nevertheless, I assure you it will turn into one of the greatest moments in your life. You see, it’s all about what we choose to do in that period that will determine our ultimate destiny.
This passage describes me. Perhaps this is why God gave it to me. I have been smack in the middle of that wilderness, an extremely painful place to be in. It was just a place I had to travel through to get to where I was destined to be, a temporary place, not a final destination. I just had to pass through it. Remember this if you find yourself in the wilderness.
This was a very dry and unbearable place. Like literally, someone lost in the wilderness without water. Everything is dry and the sun's heat is beating you down to the ground, leaving you half-dead. No, there’s nothing dramatic about what I just wrote. Those who have been there or are there now understand very well what I just said.
It’s a place of questioning every single thing. “Why God? Why are you allowing this? What did I do? I don’t understand. Can you please help me to understand? I’m in a weary and dry place. Help me, God.” I know I’m not alone in having asked these questions.
I remember being in church, most of the time alone at the altar. Just kneeling there, and sobbing. Just nonstop crying. Waiting for God to answer those questions. It was during one of these times that this verse came immediately to my mind. I knew the Holy Spirit placed that verse on my mind. I picked up my Bible and went to the passage. God, in His great mercy and loving-kindness, showed me that I wasn’t alone in the wilderness. He was with me, and He was shaping, molding, and creating in me who He wanted me to be. The wilderness was a great place, but it was a place where He was, too. “He never abandons the work of His hands.”
He reminded me that this wilderness experience would reveal the real me. It would reveal everything I believed about God’s sovereignty, His love, His goodness, His mercy, and His restoring power. Most importantly, it would reveal my character, not just who I truly am, but in whom I say I am in Him. It’s a place of revelation. Who He is and who I am.
Next, He made me a promise, “I will take you out of here.” He gave me His word to hang on to. “Yes, I brought you into this wilderness experience. It’s all about you and Me now. You will discover My power and might, and you will see My glory. Remember this, just as I took you here, I will be taking you out of here, too. When I do, you will not be the same. “Who is that coming out?” Your old ideas, thoughts, and preconceived notions will be cut off and uprooted, they will be buried up and left in the wilderness.
When you emerge, it will be clear that you are not alone. It will be seen that you are leaning on Me. I am your true Beloved. I have promised to never leave nor forsake you, and this shall be seen. You must trust Me in the wilderness where everything looks dead. You must trust Me regardless of what you think, see, and feel. Trust me in this wilderness.”
That day, I got up from that altar and I knew I would never be the same again. My encounter with God was so life-altering. I asked God, “Ok, please, can You tell me how long are You keeping me in the wilderness? Please do me what You need to do fast. I don’t like this place.” God never answered me back with a timetable.
Let me say, it was the best place of my life. What I learned in this place was so valuable and so very powerful. It changed everything about me, I am not who I used to be. What Satan meant for harm, God turned it around to bless me. He used the wilderness to show me His glory and what it looks like in the lives of His children. It was all for my good, giving me great purpose. A life lived solely for Him. A wonderful life that I wouldn’t exchange for anybody or anything. Absolutely nothing!
In this wilderness, I learned all about God’s faithfulness and His protection, His guidance, and His presence. There He was every step of the way leading me. He ordered my footsteps in places I couldn’t have imagined or dreamed of. His banner of love never left me in the wilderness. During those moments of fear and confusion, His voice of encouragement and reminders of His great love towards me kept me going. His revelations of my future in Him get me moving. His unfailing compassion never ends; He demonstrates His power and majesty in quick answers to the smallest of my requests. Just so I would know He was by my side. Those hard moments when I told Him, “God, please, I can’t go further anymore.” His gentle voice, “Alright, My Child, I will just carry you now!”
He immediately brought me to my senses. Even if those moments meant me crawling, I knew God was trying to teach me things. Being carried I wouldn’t have learned them, and I didn’t want those lessons to have to be re-taught. The wilderness wasn’t a place of complete deadness, a parched land, as it represents. God reminded me, Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days, Moses was in the wilderness for 40 years. Both left the wilderness infused by the power of the Holy Spirit. You can’t go into the wilderness and come out the same way! You either come out alive and changed, filled with wonder and awe of what was shown, taught, and revealed to you; Or you come back as dried up, sun scourged, and dead. The choice is really ours.
Two and a half years in this place, and back to the altar I was. Again, there kneeling at the same altar, crying, this time crying tears of joy for all that God had done. This time, God’s words were a bit different. “Teresa, it’s time to bring you out of the wilderness. Remember it took a while for you to get here. It will take time for Me to take you back. There are more lessons to learn, but I’m with you. You are not walking back alone. You are walking with Me. Remember to lean on Me.” I picked up my Bible and reread that scripture. There it was that word, "lean."
This scripture came back to my mind. My road in the wilderness had been extremely painful, more than I can even describe. But that wilderness was the best place I could have been. You see, I learned to lean on God. I learned to trust in Him. I learned to do everything as He asked of me, even if I didn’t like it or understand it. Most importantly, I learned to only care about what He says, not what people say or think. Pleasing Him, and not people, is my decision. It has liberated me, set me free from man-made rules, ideas, and thoughts. I knew of Who God was, but now I know Who He is in my life. The wilderness was a place of intimacy. It was a place where God showcased His glory to me. A place of transformation. A place of wonderworking miracles. It was a place where God molded and shaped me into the vessel He wanted me to be. A place of absolute surrender in every single way possible. It was a moment between God and me. I was in His hands to do what He saw best.
It was a glorious place. I didn’t see it that way when I arrived there, but now my eyes have been opened to see the reason for the wilderness. All my questions have been answered, I’m out of that wilderness, and I’m at the edge of the final promises of God coming to pass that I heard of in the wilderness.
Friends, I’ve learned the best lesson of all, what it means: “Leaning on the arms of my beloved!”
Who are you?
Rev. Dr. Teresa Allissa Citro
Founder and President
Thread of Hope, Inc.