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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In the Desert with My Saviour

I have been on a sabbatical, of sorts. It was a long holiday weekend in my country and we were at a house near the beach for a few days. It meant that I couldn't blog and I also couldn't keep up with my bible studies. I didn't have the peace or privacy to get quiet with God. As a result, my thoughts are all scrambled up and I feel disoriented and dis-organised. My spirit feels restless and strangely empty.

I know what is missing.. I am hungry! My spirit is hungering and thirsting for God himself. It acknowledges that it is nothing without Him. I have felt spiritually dry.. I've been in the desert . It has been my experience that sometimes God takes us to the desert to test us just as Jesus was in Matthew Chapter 4. In our weakness, as God tests us, the devil also comes to tempt us, just as he did with Jesus. Here, in this desert, I must find the strength I need to resist the evil, the temptations, to pray for God's will to be revealed, to pray for discernment. Here, in the desert, as I seek God, I feel the pain of my hunger and thirst. I reflect on how much I need Him and on how much I need His direction.. to have Him show me His way and His path.

Recently, I was meditating on the fact that it is not easy to choose God's ways and not the world's. It is painful to be different. I feel it... how much more so do my children feel it? Everyday I have to make that choice for God and it is never without some pull and tug from the world. We live in the world, it will always affect us, especially when the people around us are not living the same values, not living the Word. I am always at conflict, wondering how to not compromise my values in my parenting without driving my children to resentment... now that's a really hot topic for another blog!

How easy it is in the Sanctuary of God's presence to be all that He asks of us. I sit in the cool, quiet of the chapel and I pray...

Lord, I wish I didn't have to leave this place. Here it is easy to be who you call me to be. It is easy to feel your presence, to absorb your love, to be at peace. The minute I step out of this sanctuary, the world starts intruding... the noise and confusion of life invades my peace... steals it, shreds it. Inside your Sanctuary, where you shelter me in your Sacred Heart, I don't need to make choices.. YOU ARE everything. I don't need to guard my tongue or my thoughts or actions, for there in your presence I am surrounded by your beauty and light.

Yet, I have to go out... my God-given mission.. to be a light. I hear Him say "No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub" Matt 5:15 and I beg Him for strength to face the battering of the world. It takes more strength and courage than I could ever have on my own to walk the path of the righteous... and I slip.. so many times. I fail to guard my tongue, I fail to rein in my temper. I have bitter or jealous thoughts. Oh yes, my soul.. you are nothing without Him who created you, who nourishes you! I have to crawl back into the lap of His Grace and weep tears of shame and beg His forgiveness.

We learn in James 4:4 that to befriend the world makes us enemies of God..I will add that to serve God makes us enemies of the world. What a fitting way to begin the Season of Lent. Daily, we must make that choice, painful choices, choices that literally set us aside from others.. sometimes our own family, friends, neighbours.

James 4:7-8 tells us "Give in to God, then, resist the devil and he will run away from you. The nearer you go to God, the nearer God will come to you. Clean your hands you sinners and clear your minds, you waverers." What I learn here is that God Himself will give me the strength to resist the evil one and that the more I turn to Him, the stronger I will be. I must, however, repent of my sins to go before the Holy One. I must constantly make sure that I am in a state of grace so as to be worthy (as if we could ever really be worthy!) to go before Him.

I am indeed a wretched sinner, unworthy by my own efforts, yet by His Grace alone, accepted and loved for who I am, despite my weaknesses. In James 4:9-10 we are told to appreciate our wretchedness and weep for it in misery, that our laughter must be turned to grief and our happiness to gloom, that in humbling myself before Him he will raise me up. It is when I am brought to my knees through grief or pain, through the shame of my littleness, that I can see Him clearly, see His grace, see His mercy poured out as He raises me from the mire of my sinfulness and my weakness. There, on my knees, humble and repentant, I learn that my true joy is in serving Him, despite the difficulties of being His servant.

As I join my Saviour in the desert for the next forty days, I pray that I will be joyful in my sufferings and sacrifices for I must be grateful for every opportunity to unite my sufferings with His own and offer to Him my loving sacrifices in repentance and reparation, in thanksgiving.. for who can ever repay Him for His wonderful love and mercy, for the graces He pours out daily?

Thank you Lord, for you faithful love and mercy, for the strength you give to those who lean on you. I pray for my journey with you in the desert to be a fruitful one, worthy of being offered in reparation for the offences by which you are so greatly offended. May each of us be faithful to our Lenten promises and may you bless each one of my friends, especially those going through trials right now..may they find their strength and counsel in you. Amen

May God's graces and blessings be with you as you begin your own journey with our Saviour for a holy and fruitful season of Lent.

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Amie said...

What a great post! Thanks for sharing! Thanks for stopping by my blog today too :)

Theresa said...

A beach vacation sounds nice right about now :)
Visiting today from GMG.

Tara said...

Remember that a lighthouse doesnt have a horn. Just something my pastor said when talking about being a holy light to the world. People seek a lighthouse when they're lost at sea. Likewise, people will seek God when they are lost in the world. Let your light shine bright sister, so that your lost friends and family will see it and know that you can help guide them in their journey! Great post

Kim said...

Visiting from Ann's. Great post. I appreciate your vulnerability and authenticity. Glad you see hope in the desert. Oh, how He loves! Be bold! Be brave! Be you!

Bill & Glory said...

Beautiful and a little painful to realize the true cost of obediance and surrender to a holy God. Not nearly the price He paid for our sin and for His sacrifice I am humbled and forever grateful. Thank you for sharing from your heart!