“Who is this, coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?”

In this passage in the Song of Solomon, the friends of the bride are gazing at the bride and not recognizing her, even though chapters earlier they could easily identify her.

The bride, who is the church (Rev 22:17), and each believer, had undergone a beautifying transformation in the wilderness, and is now coming out of the wilderness in greater intimacy with Christ.

The fact that the Bride’s friends are unable to recognize her is indicative of the degree of personal transformation that each one of us should have in Christ–we become so in love with Jesus that our friends and family are astonished at the radical changes in our lives.

Outside our Christian circles, the world should be awed by our transformation as well. We should be so filled with the glory and the love of God that the world asks in amazement, “Who is this?” When the lovers of God are raised to full maturity, the world will pay close attention to the Bride of Christ.

But, as we can see, most of this transformation happens in the wilderness, in the secret place, in the cleft of the rock (Song 2:14), in hiddenness. It is in the wilderness, where, removed from the temptations and distractions of the world, we enter into deeper intimacy with God.

In Hosea 2:14, God says, “Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” In the wilderness, where the provision and resources are few, we learn to depend and lean on God, and not on our own strengths, abilities, and understanding (Prov 3:5). We learn to trust Him in every aspect of our lives.

Many of us have gone through wilderness seasons, but have we learned to lean upon our beloved? Have we been transformed in the wilderness to become more like Him?

Perhaps you are in a wilderness season in the Lord right now. The key is not to seek to get out of the wilderness as fast as you can, but to seek Him and find Him there. We can commune with Him, and rest in Him, in the middle of it all.

As we grow in love with Jesus in the wilderness, it is He who will lead us out in due season. And when we are out again in the open, may the world behold us in awe and wonder at who we have become in Christ.