On the spiritual journey, no one chooses to travel through the desert. Life is bleak in this dry and barren place, not exactly flowing with milk and honey. Occasionally, the diversionary cause might be identified—the missed promotion, the illness, the failed relationship, the dream that was again just out of reach---but more often than not, we one day just find ourselves thirsty, wandering and lost in a dispirited emptiness.
As we become aware of our location, the questions begin, like a child asking, “Are we there yet?” before even getting out of the driveway. Where are you God? Am I doing something wrong? Is it supposed to be this hard? Why are you allowing this to happen? Isn’t there a shortcut? How long, oh Lord?
Apathy and temptation grow when answers and escape don’t swiftly arrive. We roam through our days listlessly, frustrated and ashamed by our non-productivity. Eventually, we realize there is nothing we can do to rush this process. There is no shortcut through the desert. We can’t ‘do’ our way out of this arid landscape. We must wait for God; and God does not move hastily.
The Israelites discovered this on their forty-year trek. Perhaps, on a smaller scale, this is our lesson too. Maybe during this season we aren’t supposed to be productive. Maybe we too are learning how to wait. . . not in lethargic passivity, but in falling surrender. Maybe it is in this kind of waiting that the bedrock of trust is poured so that when it’s time, there is a launch pad ready to take us into our promise land.
Photo Credit: Deb Turnow
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Nicole Mills is an oncology nurse, cancer survivor, nerd, and contemplative. She has a secret desire to be a nun or a double-dutch jump rope champion. Not being Catholic or able to jump 2 ropes poses significant hurdles, but she remains hopeful.