Dear Traveling Saints of God,
Travel is something that some love and others despise. The Israelites traveled for 40 years, but no one considered it a camping vacation. A few years ago, many of us would have just wished for some peace and quiet at home. For the last two years that is what we have had…well maybe not what we thought being at home was supposed to be like. Being at home has been the wilderness journey for most of us. Just when we think we can travel again, there is more threat and another variant to shut us in. So we long to get out now like we used to long to be in. I have one friend that thinks it is bliss to be shut in and to keep the world away.
But the fears and the temptations of the world creep into our solitude like a spider into an unnoticed corner of our life-closet. The wilderness is within us, not just under our feet. The dryness is in our souls, not just the cotton-feeling of our mouths.
And we wonder as we wander, “Where are you Lord? Why must the world suffer like this? Why must I be so inconvenienced?” And if it were not bad enough that we must travel this journey of the wilderness, we notice that it is not just us, but even the church. And so we ask, “Lord why is it taking so long for us to have a shepherd/pastor to guide us and lead us? Why another temporary guide?”
The wilderness that our lives pass through, and the wilderness that our church body goes through have similarities. Every wilderness causes us to wonder, “how long will this last?.” And we do not know. The wilderness causes us to seek security and safety, and we know that only in Christ will we find that. The wilderness makes us want a leader-guide, and God turns our eyes to Christ, and we hear his voice, “Come to me all you who are weary and loaded down, and I will give you rest”
The Israelites thought about food and water. They argued about who would lead them. They thought that God should be like what everyone else in their world worshiped. Does it sound like us?
So God gave ten great promises to help them refocus. It didn’t help. Then he sent His Son and gave His Spirit to turn the desert of our souls into a garden of new life. He walked then, and he walks now with us.
Travel on. Find joy in the journey.