It’s Easter Sunday and we’re coming to the end of our church shopping saga now debating between the one we were planning on attending this morning (last week’s church), and the one that we attended today (because it started 15 minutes later and we were running late – I’m blaming the Easter hair-dos).
It’s the second week in a row that the message from the pastor wasn’t the message that hit me. I just pray each Sunday that there’s a message there for me somewhere, and though from odd places sometimes, one always wiggles its way into my heart and marinates a while. Today I found my message in a song that I’d never heard before and don’t remember now but for a fragment of one line…
“…walk through the desert…”
Just four words from an unknown praise song, they spoke to me in that moment. Standing there with stains covering the white shirt I’d worn today, coffee I’d spilled TWICE during our opening praise time (so I can’t sing and drink coffee at the same time, who knew?), I sung the lyrics from the screen above trying not to sing too loudly or too off key.
“…walk through the desert…”
It was a song of praise and comfort, one that reminded me of those historic times when God led others safely through literal deserts so that we could know and remember His faithfulness and provision. I thought of this Passover and the fulfilled promises to lead the Israelites through the desert to the promised land. They spent 40 years wandering, but in that time they were given food, law, and teachings so that they could learn to govern themselves after generations of slavery. God used those years to make them strong and ready for something truly good. I remembered the scene we saw last night of Jesus’ temptation in the desert – for 40 days and nights he was alone, hungry, and tempted, but He made it through (Matthew 4:1-11) and when it was over, God sent his angels to attend to Him and prepare Him for what was next.
Each time, God was there. Faithful, comforting, He didn’t abandon His son or His people. He didn’t leave them stranded. He brought them THROUGH. And in a single moment this morning, that image of “through” gave me a peace and comfort that I wasn’t expecting.
We’ve come to know the desert as a place without. In the literal, it’s without water, without vegetation, without sustenance… but in our own lives, you can insert any word.
Love. Acknowledgement. Purpose. Plan.
I’ve been through more than one desert. They sort of sneak up on me. This one did.
Truly, I can sit here typing in my nice home on my new-ish computer as my girls do their schoolwork in other nooks of the house and I can intellectually tell you that I am absolutely blessed. Life is good. I’m content.
Yet, I’ve found myself in my own personal desert where I am feeling very much without. There are moments, tiny ones, when I let myself know this and feel it. Miniscule flecks of sadness could pummel me. They could grow and obscure my vision of the tremendous blessings and goodness in my life. But they won’t – and this morning’s message was that song and those words because this desert is one that I’ll get through – not because I’m so great, but because God is great and He will lead me out and make me stronger.
This morning, I was given a song, peace, and some moments of joy and genuine laughter. The deserts are places of preparation, so instead of feeling the void, I will feel excitement knowing that not only will I make it through, but that there is something good waiting for me on the other side.