sojourning the wilderness

Russell Minick 2 Comments

The Promised Land.  It’s just around the corner…s.   (sigh).  39 years of speculating on what is next and how it’s gonna be??  (sigh).

The children of Israel needed to leave Egypt.  It was time.  God made paths for departure and a promise for what was lying ahead.  But things did not go in a straight line.  There was a lot of wandering.  Wandering sucks.

Meandering is nice.  But transitions ‘from’ without a clear idea of ‘to’ is not meandering, no matter how long and circuitous the path.  It is wandering; wondering; speculating; ghosting.  Can’t go back.  ‘Back there’ has changed for you.  So you have to keep trying to focus on the presence of God and resist the temptations of self-pity and grumbling.  Who died miserable?  Those who were ‘apistian’ – unfaithful (Hebrews 13:19).

Unfaithfulness is described as hardening the heart.  Enduring by hoping less.  Eventually we no longer hear the voice of God, and that, partly because we do not share in encouragement with the children of God.  Somehow a promise-infused heart is necessary to make it through transition, and that from other sojourners who take turns lifting up the promises to inspire others to press on.

For me the trick is in part knowing who to relate to, and in what way.  I’m constantly asking questions about which questions to even ask; not a very fun conversation to have.  So where are the co-sojourners to “exhort one another every day”?  We don’t transition in packs.  Singles, couples… it can be quite isolating to neither be part of where you were or where you are passing through. How do we know the way forward and how to we sustain the optimism to keep looking?

I wish I knew, better than I do right now.  What I have learned is to rehearse the past.  I don’t try and relive the past, I know better than that (I hope).  What I try to do is remember the angst of not knowing the way forward I had prior to launching into adventures which are now treasured and rich with sentiment of meaning and life and love.  Somehow, that HOPE of a veiled future becoming a living present and eventually a remembered heritage is what we need; (that and all the warnings that if we stop hoping and resign ourselves to bitterness we will get bitten by vipers and die a toxic death).  So, forward it is, yeah?

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