Thursday, December 27, 2007

living in the desert

Related to yesterday's post, I think it's true that quite frequently, we in Jesus see ourselves living in a desert, in this existence. Often I feel spiritually dry, barren (fruitless), or sometimes petrified with fear or more likely even boredom.

Yet frequently I sense the Lord's presence, the Spirit moving- even if ever so lightly and just enough to recognize it- and the motivation to act in faith. This comes from God and his word, all in Jesus. Though the desert experience for some may be prolonged, it should not last forever. Not to judge Mother Teresa. But as a rule there should be a sense of oasis along the way, here and there. This is what I find in my own life, most every day. Some seasons of a dry spell last longer, but most have at least some refreshing and rest to them.

Living in the desert is to be a time and means of preparing the way for the Lord, first in one's own life, and then into the lives of others, helping them by our lives in their wilderness and desert experience. It is a place where we come before God as we are, and where God exposes our hearts so we can repent and find God's new life.

We should not despise the desert. It is part of life in this barren present world, not to be despised, but appreciated, as the Lord's tool for holiness and godliness in this present existence, and a precursor (or forerunner) to God's blessing in Jesus.

What have you found about living in the desert?

6 comments:

NaNcY said...

i have found that in my experience that i would have to agree with what you say that "It is a place where we come before God as we are, and where God exposes our hearts so we can repent and find God's new life." i think that the action of placing our hope in God through Jesus while we are in the desert is actually the oasis, God in Jesus is our shelter and drink of cool, refreshing water.

the desert is what i see as a difficult time, and i do not like it. but, by having been there to some extent, gives me a new perspective of the oasis.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Very good, helpful words for us.

Thanks.

The Walk said...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the story of the persistant widow. That's how I feel sometimes in the desert. Knocking, shouting, banging on the door...

I think the desert can help me to check my priorities--"Am I going to God for happiness, success...or for Himself?" When God seems silent, or when I am afraid, the journey takes more faith, because it seems as if God should calm the storm. Sometimes He's sleeping in my boat, and I have to hold onto His promise that He'll see me to the other side. But it also makes me stronger, helps me to learn more about Him (and myself), and grow closer to Him, in ways that surprise me in the end.

Good post.

Ted M. Gossard said...

The Walk,
Thanks for your very wise words. That's better than the post, really like Nancy's. Both.

But you're so right; it's those times when things seem out of control when our faith is really tested and can grow. And like you say, we are refined. Why are we in this?- a good question cf.: Job.

Thanks.

Desert Pilgrim said...

Ted, I am so sorry it took me so long to post a reply. Often the desert is described as a dry place and that can be very true, but my experience and view of the desert is that it is the place where everything is shut out and space is made to be able to fully listen for His voice. Our Lord went into the desert to commune with the Father. I see the desert as a place of fulness. The place where we are alone with Him. Our interior hermitage.
Your blog is wonderful and I thank you for your friendship.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Desert Pilgrim,
Thanks for your words to us. An excellent point, and one we need to see as true for ourselves. Certainly true in Scripture for our Lord and others.

We certainly need that, and maybe our pain in it points more to our own emptiness or undue affection for things other than the will of God in Jesus.

Thanks for your kind words and friendship.