Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Journey

All of us at some time or other like to go on trips. One of the exciting things about leaving one place and arriving at the next is finally arriving at our destination. Most of the time we have control over the planning which includes how long we will be away from home, where we will stop along the way and what sights we plan to see. We hope and pray that we don't run into any unexpected "detours" like car trouble, getting lost, or getting sick. This past few weeks I have been meditating on a passage from Deuteronomy, prompted by a reading from the devotional booklet, "Our Daily Bread." Deuteronomy is Moses' "swan song", wherein he reminds the Israelites of everything the Lord has done for them and commands them to remain faithful to the one true God. They are about to enter the promised land after wandering in the desert for 40 years. I can imagine how frustrating it must have been wandering around for what seemed like forever. Besides, they had already been in slavery for 400 years! Perhaps they were expecting to go waltzing into the promised land in a timely fashion. However, because of their rebellion God detoured them. He had them wander in the desert to redirect their hearts, souls, and minds towards obedience to the Lord. Unfortunately a whole generation had to die before the people could enter in. Moses tells this new generation, "The Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart..." (Deuteronomy 8:2) The author of the meditation in "Our Daily Bread" goes on to say, "In life, it sometimes seems as if we are wandering in circles. We feel lost. We want to ask God, "Are we there yet? How much longer?" At such times, it helps to remember that the journey, not the destination, is important to God. He uses it to humble us, test us, and show us what is in our hearts." (italics mine) I resonate with the passage and the author's message. I want to be settled and get on with serving God's people in pastoral ministry. I feel somewhat justified in my attitude after the pain of moving on from my former church. But the Lord is reminding me that like the Israelites I need to wander for awhile in the desert as He prepares the way for what is yet to come. I need to be humbled so pride does not get in the way, tested to see if I will be faithful in trusting Him, and having the Lord show me what is in my heart. In moments like these we need to ask ourselves, are we willing to wait for God's timing? Are we willing to allow God to go before us and clear the way for what we will be doing? Are we willing to allow His Spirit to deal with what is in our hearts so we can be ready to move when He asks us to and follow Him? I need to remember it is in the journey where I learn, grow, and wait with expectation for what God will reveal. The journey will be as long or as short as it needs to be so I will be, like the Israelites, ready to enter in to the place God has prepared for me.
Pastor Sheree

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