15 February, 2016

Wilderness Sand

(Cross post from Fortyfaithful.blogspot.com)
Well....we are four days into the wilderness of Lent and I have already blown it!  In my quest to give God MORE of my time during Lent, to follow Him into the wilderness of contemplation, I also like to "give up" something during this season.  Thursday night I was attending a basketball game and my darling husband surprised me and bought peanut M&Ms to add to my popcorn snack. Now really, how can a loving wife reject such a thoughtful gesture even if sweets are off the menu of your life?  I didn't.  Restart!

Barely 48 hours later I found myself squarely in a more serious situation.  I found myself in a wilderness with a lot of uncomfortable sand in my shoes and a lot of negative voices in my head.  This Lent I have been determined to follow Jesus' steps into a wilderness place for growth and reflection.  But now that I'm in that wilderness sand, it hurts me and it stings and it is just so so uncomfortable that I don't believe I can continue walking.   I confess that I do not like this wilderness and oh my, the journey has just started.

Wednesday, I wrote these words:
"I'm scared to go into the wilderness with Him as I'm concerned about what He will find in me.  But yet...I'm excited that our time will be in secret, our words will be just between us.  He will lead me and will find me in this wilderness.  He will prepare me."

I truly believe those words, I AM scared of the wilderness.  It forces so many uncomfortable conversations and situations.  The uncomfortable sand in my shoes has continued throughout the nights and into the days.  The words have become quieter in my head but the residue remains.  My mood has been sullen, the rewind of damaging words, lost trust, confusion seems only one step ahead and behind me.

Where is Jesus in these days?  In real life, where is He?  Does this happen to you too?  Where is the joy in the tough times?  Where is the joy in the wilderness?

The joy for me often comes slowly but FINALLY I see....realizing that it was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness.  And it is also out of His Glory and by His Spirit that I am led into all the days of my life and that includes the wilderness.  For it is only in the wilderness that He can remake me.  It is only there that He can truly have all my attention.  It is only in the desert that he can mend my broken heart and my worries.  And the further joy is that Jesus has already walked this desert road.  He has gone before us.  And lastly, it is in this desert experience that we begin to talk earnestly with Him.  We seem to realize the urgent need for our quiet space in those times.....but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)   Is there any better room than the room of wilderness?  I wonder why I keep resisting these parts of life?

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”Psalm 91:1-2

Can we make this our prayer today?  Will you personalize it to yourself?
When I dwell in the shelter of God, I will rest in the shadow of Him.  I will say of my Lord, only He is my refuge and my fortress.  And it is God in whom I trust.

This is my path to joy in difficult desert places.  It is only through His Word.  The words of my friends, my husband, or even words to myself seem so shallow in the sands of the wilderness.  When Jesus was in His wilderness the quotes we have from Him are all from the Word....those are the words that sustained Him during the stress, the hunger, the hot days, and so much sand in His sandals.

Is it any different for us?

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