When I think of the desert I first think of sand, cacti, sun-bleached skeletons and tumbleweeds – kind of like an old Wile E. Coyote cartoon. But once I get past my childhood understanding of the desert, I think of emptiness. Nothingness. Solitude. Quiet.
But thinking about God? The desert seems like such a desolate place, how can I connect that with my Lord? It seems like a stretch.
But then I remember that God led Moses and the Hebrews through the desert. John the Baptist was the voice in the wilderness crying out. Jesus retreated to the desert to pray.
God is in the desert because it is quiet, empty, desolate. Free from distraction. And He’s there waiting for me to step away from my busy-ness, to put aside my to-do list, to cast off my schedule. He’s there waiting for me to finally be still enough that I will be able to hear his voice whispering in the wind and my heart.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” – Hosea 2:14
In this crazy world we live in, there is always noise and chaos and confusion: never silence, never peace. But there is peace in Christ: He is the only peace. And when I am overwhelmed by the things this very temporal world has to offer, I need to turn instead to the things God has to offer me.
But I can’t do that if I don’t go out into the desert. If I don’t put down my devices, don’t take a break from trying to have an immaculately clean house or a flawless meal plan, don’t stop worrying about raising my kids perfectly, don’t turn off the radio, don’t take a minute to breathe in the graces the Holy Spirit is offering me.
I must go into the desert with Christ. While I can’t buy a plane ticket and sit under an umbrella in the Sahara, I can take time to sit down with the Lord and be still. Whether it’s 20 minutes in the morning with a cup of coffee, 5 minutes with scripture during nap time, or even a brief pause during dinner preparation to thank the Lord for the food I’m making and the family I’m feeding – I need to follow God into the desert and let Him speak to me.
Lord, please help me make time to follow you out into the desert. I pray that you will open my heart to your tenderness and mercy. Amen.
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