when have you felt lost in the wilderness of your life?

Years ago, when I drove a semi across the country, I remember when I came to the desert states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. Desert: Plain, lifeless. Nothing to see for miles around.

The next few times I drove through there, I took another look. Mountains! Cactus! The most awesome pink sunrise in Albuquerque! It literally turned everything pink! It made me rethink the desert in a good way. Although I much prefer my home state of Minnesota with its many lakes, rivers, trees and wildlife, the desert gave me much to think about.

In the New Testament, there are also references to the desert. Jesus, it is written, would go to the "wilderness" to pray. In the region He lived in, it was semi-arid. Dry, desert like. Not a whole lot to inspire anyone, right? But think about it again: dry, desert-like. Actually it is the perfect place to find God! Because we all go through those desert-like times in our lives, times when we too, feel dried up, wasted, lifeless. It is then that we cry out for God, that cry in the wilderness of our lives, when we feel so alone and vulnerable. And like the "Footprints" poem, it is then that God carries us.

The desert is quiet. There are few, if any, distractions. Again, the perfect place to hear God's Voice if we but listen! Listen! Sometimes we tend to drown out the Voice of God by our constant fears. God may be speaking to US, but because we may have our own ideas of how our answer should be, we miss Him entirely. Jesus fasted and prayed in the desert. He took His followers there. He taught them the Lord's Prayer there. Many wonderful things happened in that desert, a place we tend to think of as lifeless.

When I feel the need to hear God, I tend to gravitate to the forest, the trees there shelter me, the coolness of the air stimulates me. The many animals that inhabit it inspire me. I am not a desert person, and yet here I live on the edge of the prairie! A prairie is vast, huge! There is a joke that says out here you can watch your dog run away for two weeks before you finally lose sight of it. Yet there have been times when I have watched clouds billow up into a thunderstorm, the might and majesty overwhelmingly awesome. I have seen tiny seeds grow into mighty fields of corn,life-giving food. I used to think, when I was young, that if I ran to the edge of a wheat field, I could catch the sun before it sank into a puddle at the end of it. Such child-like wonder, right? But then again, God calls us all to be like little children. Little children feel awe at something so grand. To them, anything is an adventure, yet they also need to feel secure when life overwhelms them. This brings us back to that desert experience. Deserts are beautiful. They are grand, they can seem endless. yet is there in that emptiness that we can reach out to God--and He will reach down the rest of the way.

Have no fear, God is with you always...even until the end of time.


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