Wilderness Wanderings

We are moving – not churches (that I’m aware of!), just houses.  I HATE MOVING!

We have just started packing and it feels like it will never end. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited about our new space and yes, it’s a great time to clean out the extra junk. I love projects and I already have multiple Pinterest boards full of projects planned that, if I’m honest, I know I will never complete.  I can’t even count the number of times I have said, “I can’t wait to BE moved; it’s just the moving that I detest.”

Isn’t that how it is with so many things? We want the gorgeously landscaped yard but not the time and energy it takes to plant, weed, and wait (or, if you are like me, get out and water in July and August).  We want the trim, fit body but not the discipline of eating well and working out that it takes to attain it. Even the Little Red Hen’s friends were ready to eat the cake, but not do the work it took to help make it. We all want the Promised  Land without having to wander in the wilderness.

As we are entering into the season of Lent, I have been thinking a lot about our Lenten theme of “Wilderness.” I’ve been thinking a lot about the times I have been in hard places that felt like they would never end, the ones I wished I could skip and get to the better stuff.  And yet, if I’m honest, these have been the most formational times in my life. It has been in the wilderness that I have felt most vulnerable, and yet it is also where I have discovered my strengths.  It has been in the wilderness where I have been most fearful, and yet it is also where I have discovered peace.  It has been in the wilderness where I have felt I have lost everything, and yet it is also where I have discovered what is truly important to me. It has been in the wilderness where I have felt as if I had to be self-sufficient, and yet it is also where I discovered provision. It is in the wilderness where I have felt most alone, and yet it is also where I have grown most deeply in my relationship with God.

Like the wilderness, Lent is a strange and hard time, yet one filled with possibilities.  We know that Easter is coming, filled with hope and celebration.  But we are not there yet.  We have an opportunity to wander in the wilderness with Jesus for forty days.  What will we choose to do with our time there?  Will it be a time when we remain stuck in old patterns of behavior that really aren’t working for us or will we allow it to be a time when we discover something new in our relationship with God? Will we just mark the days, waiting for them to be over, or will we choose to be present in every moment and embrace it as a time to grow deeper in our relationship with God?

To be honest, I can’t imagine that I am going to look back at this move and see it as a time of deep self-discovery or a time in which I grew closer to God, but then again, I could be surprised.   That’s the thing about being in the wilderness. God shows up where we least expect it.  We just have to be open and pay attention!

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