Sometimes I don’t know what to think. Is the Lord really saying that to me? Or is it a coincidence?
Last week I noted the calendar entry on this stroke that hit me 18 month ago. Monday morning, as we started the new week, I was reading the day’s devotional from The Journey. I read out loud in my now-muffled voice, as one of my regular daily exercises. It was one I wrote and sent in before the stroke. It was about how Jesus was rejected by the people of the town where he grew up. They wanted the Jesus they knew from earlier years. At the end of the meditation I had added some reflection and discussion questions.
R&D: Do you catch yourself getting irritated or even afraid when it seems “the good old days” have disappeared completely? Is that anxiety helpful or is it more of an obstacle to clearly seeing what the new day brings to light?
I broke down as I tried to read the prayer.
Heavenly Father, this is the day that You have made. Help me to rejoice and be glad in it. Especially help me rejoice in Your mercy which is new every morning.
I slowly tried to eat a few small bites of breakfast.
On her laptop computer Melanie started playing the day’s program from Ravi Zacharias. His topic for the day was what to do when God takes you into a wilderness season.
Would Jesus ever do that? Am I still willing to follow him then?
Is God actually talking to me about it?
[Cue crickets while I decide how to answer that.]
* * * *
At Facebook I got the following comment from an priest friend:
Wilderness? More and more I feel I’m a stranger (maybe I’m just more strange) in my own “Christian” community. This feeling often happens when I watch the “worship” services and activities of many congregations – which appear more of a concert, school play, or clean Christian Las Vegas nightclub act.
I don’t want to be an old-fogey (the derogatory term used to refer to older people who no longer act in current socially-acceptable ways). But I feel like I’m in the wilderness or the Slough of Despond.
Fr. Wade got me thinking about wilderness seasons in our lives. This not exactly the point Ravi was trying to make. But I realized every new season in my life has seemed like wilderness to me, at least until I got used to it. In my example I am not intending to sound smug or superior, or critical either. But here’s the example that played in my mind.
At one point in my life I was perfectly happy to sit in the church nursery. Every tear of mine got quick attention and comforting. These days I don’t want to hang around nurseries much. They are more like a wilderness now. But where I do hang out my tears don’t get the same attention. New seasons. I used to be served. Now I’m expected to yield and serve others more than myself. It’s less comforting in the moment. And the moment is where I am, right now, even though I hear that it gets better later.
I ponder the model of Blessed Mother Teresa. In her diaries, published after her death, she talked about the wilderness quality of her life for most of her life.
It’s unsettling to think that may be what’s normal.