Monday, December 30, 2013
Thoughts from the back side of the desert
"Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God." Exodus 3
Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness tending sheep. I'm sure he thought, at nearly 80, his life was pretty much over. He was forgotten by the world, a shepherd in the wilderness, out of sight, out of mind...and I wonder if he thought about his purpose, his place in the plans of God. I wonder if he felt his life was pretty much over and this was as good as it was going to get.
What Moses didn't realize, and most of us don't either, is that God meets us on the back side of our deserts. At times when we feel all is lost, life is over, our purpose is done suddenly we turn a corner and run into God!
I've spent a lot of time in the wilderness, on the back side of the spiritual desert, and am always surprised when I find myself at my "Mt. Horeb", the mountain of God. It strikes me as strange that the mountain of God is in the middle of a wilderness, in the desert! How odd for this to be what God calls his mountain. How odd it would be in the desert.
After many trips into the desert myself I'm convinced it's the place we must go to find the mountain of God. It's the only place where he can strip away other people, our own resources, and all the noise of the world around us.
I had lunch today with an old friend going through cancer treatment and the challenges of health, life and mortality. He told me, as we visited about our places in the kingdom, that my time in the desert will not be wasted. One day I will come around the corner and there is God with the instructions for the next part of my life!
For Moses it was 40 years of wandering and then he's ready to hear God, ready to respond to him. Our desert experiences can be some of the best times of our lives because they strip away all the chaos and distractions of the world and focus our attention on God! We will discover that we can finally, after everything else is gone, hear his voice.
Don't resent your time in the desert, but know at any moment, any day, you will come around the corner and there, awaiting you, is a burning bush.