Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Lenten Study Circle: Wilderness, and My Journey Therein

My friend Kathleen and I have just started a Lenten Study Circle on Facebook. We were room mates at Yale. We have been friends now for a long time. I have to say,  I'm super excited about this group, the format, the wow! 46 people we have signed up.

We're starting our first week with a welcome, and with a discussion of "Wilderness." I love the topic of wilderness, and it often comes up in retreat work. I find that people often like to talk about times of hardship, loneliness, of trials as time in the wilderness. There's a solace in the fact that we all go through these hard times, lonely times, that we all are faced with tough issues.

Sunny spot
"Sunny Spot" by Garry on Flickr - a bit of Wilderness
Right now, Sean and I are trying to figure out how to make ends meet. He lost his job last week. We are trying to hold tight to faith that we will be alright, that we will make it to the better times, that we will hold on to love as tight as we can and that it will carry us through to the "other side," to a land of "milk and honey." Each step is one towards that goal, to a promised land. And yet, each step for now is still in this desert, and there is the sense that we just left the proverbial Egypt and have a long haul ahead of us.

I get the feeling that maybe this week, I understand a little better how the Israelites and Jesus felt as they began their time in Ha Midbar (the wilderness). Thrown there, possibly without planning for their time, without the appropriate provisions or road map. A project manager such as I dislikes this feeling immensely. I want to KNOW where we are headed, what the tasks and "deliverables" we need to work on. And yet these things are hidden from view.

The stories of wilderness in the Bible also show that there is a patience required when one is on the journey. Yes, we may be "out here" awhile. There is likely a lesson to learn, either planned or that will make itself known once we have lived off of manna long enough and are ready to move along. This theme of lessons and patience (in both Old and New Testaments) is not lost on me.

I'll lean in to faith and keep hanging on in to Lent.

Linking up to:


Tracy said...

Hi Paula - firstly thank you for the follow and for linking up on Winsome Wednesday. Secondly, I loved your post. The desert experience is a tough one and one we go through often. God getting all the 'Egypt' out of us. I want to encourage you by telling you that God knows you're there and He is walking this path with you and its for a season. I'll be praying for you! God bless
ps: Look forward to seeing you there again next week and i've followed back :)

Tara said...

what a great attitude in a very stressful time.

redemptionsbeauty said...

I used to dread Lent and its heaviness and now I find it to be rich in the wilderness. I have written much lately about uncertainty and the way God has met us along that path. Pray He gives you clarity during this season of waiting.

momto8 said...

this may sound lame..but it is true...when i look back at all the desperate times in my life....that is when my faith grew the most....my faith and my trust..
I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

Kate @ Teaching What Is Good said...

Well I am praying for you as I type that the Lord will ABUNDANTLY provide for your needs (particularly through a new job) and that in the journey you will walk more and more into the joy of the Lord being your strength! Thanks for your post.

Paula said...

Thank you all for stopping by :)

Tracy - I love your comment about getting the Egypt out of us. I had not thought about that aspect of it, but yes, we needed some shaking up and I'd prayed that God would move some stones for us.

Redemptionsbeauty - I just wrote another piece about manna I need to share. God definitely is right there beside you on the path :)

Tara - thank you, some times it is hard to stay positive, but that is also part of the journey

Momto8 - I agree, the hard times tend to draw us closer to God :)

Kate - thank you for your prayers!

Dolly@ Soul Stops said...

Thank you, Paula, for sharing your wilderness experience and how you are trusting God, and it is hard because there are so many unknowns when one is in the wilderness. Praying that God will continue to provide and encourage you and Sean. Deut. 31:8 helps me, and I pray it will encourage you.

Paula said...

Dolly - thank you for stopping by! I will check out Deut 31:8 :) Thank you for suggesting it!