The writers of the Bible were fixated on “wilderness.” From Moses in the Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Old Testament) to John in Revelation (the last book of the New Testament), the theme of wilderness pervades throughout. Besides the geographic setting of the authors, there is a focus that constantly sees the wilderness as a metaphorical condition and quest of the heart.
I experienced that this weekend at our our Worshipper&Warrior retreat, Wilderness Encounter (www.worshipperwarrior.org). As men from across the city, across the spiritual spectrum, ranging from 18 to 70 years old, slept in tents, heard messages in an aspen grove, hiked, shot pistols, and orienteered together, there was a collective sense of longing and passion for God to show up in our own personal wilderness.
Never have I experienced such comradery with so many wholehearted men. It took wholeheartedness to even attend this challenging weekend get away. Daily, all of us shared our confusion, shame, and pain, and then allowed God and other men to speak into our lives, pray over us, and accept our limitations.
One young man said to me if he could describe Wilderness Encounter in one word, it would be “snot.” We laughed. A bit graphic, but it was an apt description. The honesty and weeping was, at times, overwhelming, but always, healing.
What an honor to hang out, pray with, cry with, love, shoot pistols, laugh with, hike, sleep in tents with, eat, and count as my bloodstained allies, such men. As men, we need such allies in our life. We need the blood, the tears, and the God of the wilderness.
Your Bloodstained Ally,