I got an email early this morning (I’ve gotten several since yesterday’s post in fact and I thank you all so much) and in the email the person said that she was praying for me to feel the Lord’s “peace that passes all understanding” as I’m walking in this altogether familiar and unfamiliar place again. I say familiar because I have been here before…the loss of a pregnancy…of a life yet to be lived. But unfamiliar because this time it is SO different my friends. In my email back to her I said “I am sad, but I can say in all bewildered honesty that the Lord has given me a peace that does indeed pass all understanding.” And after I wrote it, I thought on my own words for a bit….”bewildered by the gentleness of the Lord.”
I’m into word studies lately. I’ve been studying lots of words and am finding that the more I get back to the definition of them, the more clearly they jump off of the page and into the function of my life. So don’t you know that after I found myself thinking more on my own words, I had to look up “bewildered” this morning? It means “to be completely puzzled, confused, or perplexed.” And then I found the origin of the word… dating back to the 1680s, from be- “thoroughly” + archaic wilder “lead astray, lure into the wilds,” probably a back-formation of wilderness. The word is often used in conjunction with a notion of becoming almost lost.
And I’m struck by a thought….that I can be completely puzzled and confused and lost in the peace of the Lord.
I’ve been in seasons of actual wilderness before. I think most of us have at some time or another. Mine happened to coincide with my first couple of miscarriages. There were other factors at play during that time, including leaving a beloved church that had played a huge part in shaping my adult faith….but I’ll never forget our exit meeting with the teaching pastor there being a sweet time. We knew the Lord was calling us into a new place and after 11 years in that body, it was hard to leave. And the pastor asked us where we were going and my husband plainly replied “the wilderness.”
And that’s exactly where we landed….wilderness. Months of feeling lost and confused and “bewildered” at all that was going on around us. Nothing made sense…I felt puzzled, confused, perplexed, and lost.
And this morning, as I’m thinking back on that time and thinking on this current place where I’m sitting in my life, I find myself again bewildered….but bewildered by goodness and peace. It’s a good place…this twirling around in a peace that makes absolutely no sense by the standards of this world. I am literally imagining myself twirling in a field of peace…and I’m no ballerina. I don’t know how to do the spot trick where you twirl across a stage and don’t get dizzy. Heck, I don’t really even know how to twirl gracefully if we’re being honest. But somehow I find myself twirling and spotting afterall. Twirling and spotting…twirling and seeing….twirling and….Jesus.
My dear friend Erin and I went to the Relevant conference together a couple of weekends ago. And on the much delayed plane ride home we both sat there in a state of bewildered amusement of all the insanely good things that the Lord used us to do and to be a part of. Truly…we were almost laughing at the blessings that the Lord poured out on us separately that we hadn’t even dared to dream…much less expect. But these things happened. Crazy things that made absolutely no sense. Good things that honestly knocked our socks off. Relationships made, truths etched, opportunities opened, that I’m not kidding you…even if I’d been sitting around with a list of completely unreal expectations for things that’d happen while I was gone, that list couldn’t begin to even touch the realities of things that actually happened. And so we sat…bewildered by the syrup of God’s favor oozing over us both.
So this morning, I’m thinking on that word. And I wonder why in my infinite humanity I think that I actually can try to understand that “peace that passes all understanding?” The very phrase itself states my inability to actually understand it….it says it will pass all understanding….be beyond it….be beyond my wildest dreams. And I can’t help but notice that breaking that word…bewilder… down into parts leaves the words Be and Wilder. And I find myself thinking…and asking the Lord to “Be Wilder.” More beyond my understanding, more wild than even my wildest dreams, more peace that I can’t begin to comprehend, more gentleness that I don’t deserve, and more goodness that makes no sense.
I want to remove the lid and cut open the sides of the box that I dare to put the Creator of the Universe in…Bewilder me Lord….Be wilder with me Lord….knock my socks off….I know you will.