Wilderness Journey

Vacation, vacation, vacation! Everybody seems to be going everywhere. People cannot stay put. But this is something our family can’t and doesn’t do and it’s a gnawing pain deep inside. Ten years ago before my illness, we went everywhere, too. In September 2003, I planned for our family to Christmas in Australia, but came October and illness, and we never got to fly ever since. The last time our family set out for a very short vacation was on New Year’s Day, a place 12 kilometers from our house. Yes, 12 kilometers, to a hotel cloistered atop the hills overlooking the metro. Just looking for a reason to leave our home for a while and breathe in some fresh mountain air.

Before summer, buoyed by our New Year’s Day furlough, I planned for another super-short vacation in a resort deep in the mountains, this time, about 20 kilometers from our house. (You see, counting kilometers is important to me, whether my body can travel the distance or not). But this plan didn’t pan out, for then, I could not travel again however near. So, the whole summer, I planned for the kids’ trips, the daddy accompanying them, while I stayed at home and waited. They came home with hundreds of photos I could feast on. But they can’t go far, like Disneyland or Singapore, unless I’d be willing to live in constant anxiety, not eating or sleeping for days until they return.

No, our family stays put. And on long weekends like the last, you will probably find us home, the daddy and son maybe flying a remote-controlled helicopter in the yard, or the kids frantically looking for a dozen rubber lizards and iguanas that the daddy hid everywhere in the garden for a prize, and me cheering. Or me navigating through Thoreau’s Walden (by the way, it’s free on Kindle), or just gazing at the bald narra tree, at the green grass, or catching a glimpse of the birds flitting from branch to branch.

But we’re still dreaming of acquiring a farm in the province that we can’t go to and enjoy, but maybe in the future? Or sometimes thinking about a property we haven’t seen or gone to for a decade now. One that is beautifully situated near a ridge where Tagaytay and Batangas meet and where one looks out to a dormant volcano sitting in the middle of a lake.

Ah, at times these thoughts bring pain to one’s heart, but this is what I’m looking at: the Israelites journeying in the wilderness. There was only manna, day in and day out. There was no recreation. No, they were far from having a grand vacation in all their journeyings. The time that they lusted for meat, many were plagued even before they could sink their teeth into the luscious quail. They mourned and wept. And this is the most significant part: they journeyed at the commandment of God.

21 So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey. 22 Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. 23 At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed; they kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses. (Num. 9:21-23, emphasis mine)

They are God’s people and He dwelt among them. He wanted to reign in their lives, to be their Lord and King, and wanted to feed their souls with His words more than the food they craved to fill their stomachs. He wanted to humble them and prove their hearts. But the people rebelled. They lusted for other things. They dishonored God by pouring out their souls’ bitterness and complaints. They despised the life the Lord was giving them and His plans for their future; they wanted another. They would rather go back to Egypt. They said life was better there.

But going back to Egypt was going back to bondage. Do I desire that, too? Going back to the old life with all its pleasures? But going back to the old life is going back to a life of sin controlled by satan. The Lord reigns in my new life and I won’t have it any other way. So, in my own wilderness journeying, I don’t cry out to be brought back to the old life, but this, “Heal me, Lord, and send me to Thy harvest!”

(Photo courtesy of my good friend Perla Frisberg of Malmo, Sweden, and edited at picmonkey.com).

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Journey with Jesus,



  1. I’ve been thinking about how much I take for granted lately and this was a sacred echo for me. May God continue to provide windows of perspective for all of us amidst life’s hardships.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you for your brief but beautiful prayer, Shelly. “Windows of perspective amidst all our hardships” where we can find relief and freedom in the Lord – yes, we all need this.

  2. Cynthia Swenson says:

    Rina, I understand this post very well! I’m “isolated” with a mentally disabled teenager. I have learned to be exceedingly thankful for this isolation & routine because I believe it helps me focus on the Lord & prayer. There are fewer distractions & entertainments in my life, but I am so thankful for the peace & joy that I find in this lifestyle. I am thankful for siblings who sit with their brother so I can attend church & shop & occasionally minister in the community when God directs. I believe you have a close relationship with the Lord as well. Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

    • RinaPeru says:

      Your words “I am thankful for siblings who sit with their brother so I can attend church & shop & occasionally minister in the community when God directs” – I can imagine you in my mind, Cynthia, doing all these things and I can “see” it’s a unique but beautiful life nonetheless. Yes, their is peace and joy in our “isolated” lives. My own sufferings have brought me to a very close relationship with my Savior that I could never have achieved otherwise. Blessings to you!

  3. This is a very moving post – you are real about your sorrows but full of joy for your blessings. Inspirational!
    Thanks so much for sharing at Essential Fridays.

  4. Barbie says:

    You cause me to see the world with new eyes, to be grateful for all that is in front of me. Thank you, Rina, for allowing His light to shine through you!

  5. Lisa notes says:

    Sometimes the hardest thing is to accept where God has us. You do well with it. I’m sure I would be complaining and whining about it just like the Hebrews did. Praying for your adventures with God in the nearness of your home to be more fulfilling than any you could have far from your house.

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