A Way In The Wilderness
Despite Israel’s unfaithfulness, God remains committed to His people and will continue
to meet their needs. Can we believe in God’s unconditional love and trust that we too will be
led out of our individual wastelands, whether living in negative circumstances we have no
control over, or ill health for our loved ones or ourselves. As this year draws to a close, we are
cautioned ‘not to cling to events of the past, to watch for new things.’
Of course, we cannot ignore the past and the experiences we have learned from it. The
difficulty comes when we are ‘stuck’ in the past. This is a common thing to do particularly when
one is grieving. While our loved ones may not be physically here, their love and influence are
eternal, as we still carry within us their lessons of family and faith. In grief when remembering
the past, it makes hoping for the future possible. Hope is never a retreat into the past nor an
escape into the future. Hope balances all things – past, present, and future.
I was inspired by the words of Pastor Rick Warren, “Wishing for the past is like looking
in a rear-view window while driving and never looking out the windshield. If you keep that up,
you’re going to crash.” If we are always looking backward, we cannot watch for the new thing,
God is going to do. As it says in Lamentations 3:22-23, “The Lord’s acts of mercy are not
exhausted, His compassion is not spent; They are renewed each morning – great is Your
faithfulness.” Here we are encouraged to keep our eyes on the present moment, so we can be
held in God’s grace and love and ultimately find our way through any wilderness.
Our choice can be longing for the way things were or trusting the Lord for something
enlivening. If your desire is to live a ‘resurrected’ life, one needs to cooperate with the new
things God wants us to do in our family, career, friendships, church, and the world around us. It
seems like a tall order and as we take time to be in prayer, quiet, and reading Scripture, we
prepare to see what ‘life-giving’ thing God might be seeking in our current attitudes or
perspectives. As the angel says to Mary, “For nothing will be impossible for God.” Luke 1:37. I
believe God is always one step ahead of us, providing for our needs and calling us to come
closer and become more who we are called to be.
Let us be encouraged by this quote from the Word Among Us, “By holding on to God’s
wisdom, remaining flexible and humble, and doing your best to stay faithful to the Lord, you
will find the strength you need to continue on day after day.” Even though we fail repeatedly,
our heart’s desire is to be faithful to the Lord. Gratefully, God’s unconditional love carries us,
no matter what!