God In The Wilderness

Yesterday I met with a group from Florida that will be traveling with our group from Texas on the next pilgrimage to the Holy Land I'm leading in October.  My friend shared some of his photos from the two trips we've taken there together.  

We came to a series in the presentation that was taken in the Judean wilderness between Jericho and Jerusalem--including the traditional site where Jesus was "tempted" in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights after being baptized by John the Baptist.   

One of the ladies in the group remarked, "It really is a desert, isn't it?"  

My initial reaction was to chuckle a bit, and say to myself "Well, of course, it is!"  But I realized that for most of us there is a disconnection from the reality of the stories we read in the Bible and the way we imagine them.  

But we don't have to wonder about the realities of the wilderness in our own lives.  We know what it feels like to travel through the deserted seasons.  

And in those seasons of wandering and isolation, it can feel a lot like God has abandoned us--or at least made Godself scarce.  The silence can be deafening.  Especially since we are so used to noise.

Author Jonathan Martin describes it like this:  
In our culture of constant access and nonstop media, nothing feels more like a curse from God than time in the wilderness.
One of the most difficult and beautiful things we can do when it comes to our life of faith is to learn to trust that God is in the wilderness with us... present in the loneliness... speaking in the silence...  

In her new book Inspired (a wonderful reflection on the beauty and power of the Bible) Rachel Held Evans writes: 
"In Scripture and in life, the road to deliverance nearly always takes a detour.  Rarely do the people of God reach any kind of promised land without a journey or two through the wilderness." 
If you are experiencing a season of wilderness right now, take heart in the knowledge that God is with you in your wandering.  Look for the burning bushes, watch for the manna to fall from heaven, be listening for the still small voice of God... and you will know that God is there.  

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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