Forty days?

This week, many Christians begin observing forty days of Lent. Forty days marked many significant events in the Biblical narrative: Noah floating in the ark, Moses on the mountain with God, the Hebrews scouting the Promised Land, Goliath taunting Saul’s army until David picks up his slingshot, Jesus fasting in the wilderness before he begins his ministry on earth.

And, like Jesus, we are being called to forty days in the desert.

© Jane Foard Thompson
crown of thorns

Rather than Lent, perhaps life itself has called you into the desert. Illness, disability, dementia, losing a dream, job, home, loved one or a relationship . . . the desert places are open to all of us.

© Jane Foard Thompson
succulent in desert

And whether we come out on the other side at all, or haggard and bitter, or lean and ready to really live, depends on how we respond in our desert time.

© Jane Foard Thompson
In silence of the desert

In truth, we don’t want the desert. In our culture, pain is an enemy to be avoided at all costs, from the ever-present ibuprofen bottle, to drug or alcohol abuse, and even assisted suicide. Others of us are running ahead, doing the right things, working very hard to keep it all together.

However, in The Healing Path, Dan Allender says,

“God promises us redemption, but his sacred path leads us away from safety, predictability, and comfort. Any attempt to fly over the dangerous terrain or make a detour to safe ground is doomed because it will not take us to God. Instead, it leads to a host of other idols that can’t provide us with the confidence of faith, the dynamic of hope, or the passion of love we so deeply crave.”

The Healing Path

Only in the desert, we become the people we were created to be, living the life we were meant to live.

“It is in the poverty of the desert that we see clearly our attachments to the trinkets and baubles we cling to for security and pleasure. The desert shatters the soul’s arrogance and leaves body and soul crying out in thirst and hunger. In the desert, we trust God or we die.”

The Healing Path

Trust God or die.

When Eve didn’t trust God, and ate the fruit instead, she died to all her life could have been in the garden, including evening walks with God.

God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden, into the desert were they would learn how much they needed him.

And every time we chose our own way, in place of God’s pathway, we eat that fruit again.

© Jane Foard Thompson
thorny desert plant

“The healing path must pass through the desert or else our healing will be the product of our own will and wisdom.”

The Healing Path

So, where are you heading for your forty days?

Recommendations for study: The Healing Path, Dan B Allender, Ph.D., WaterBrook Press, 2002
YouVersion Lenten studies
My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, Barbour and Company, Inc., original copyright 1935

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