At some point during Sunday’s service, it hit me. It was a bit of a chilling realization, but I knew it to be true. I knew in that moment that there were aspects of my faith I was not willing to touch, to prod, to examine. I was afraid that my faith as a result would come tumbling down on top of me like a deck of cards. I’m afraid that I’ll be left alone, left for dead, forsaken by the god who can’t stand under such examination. In a way, I’m afraid that God can’t take exploration, questioning, discovery. I’m afraid He’ll finally cut me out of His will for my overwhelming questioning and doubt. And so I must go into the proverbial desert. Alone.
The importance of the desert
If you’ve read the Bible enough, you realize the desert is a common motif in the faith journey. Moses spends forty years wandering the desert. Jesus spends His forty days of being tested in the desert. The desert in the Bible is synonymous for trial. Often, that trial must be ventured alone. And the journeyer is never left unchanged. In Moses’ case, you could argue he doesn’t leave the desert until he is a new man. But the desert is meant to change, is meant to test, try, and shape people.
Taking a hiatus while in the desert
Sorry to do this to the faithful, but I’m taking a break from blogging (and all social media) for the next week. I want this to be a time of true contemplation, focus. I must take this spiritual journey alone, but I know that in spirit I am anything but. I have not been willing to give it all to follow Christ, and now I must give up the rest, my best. Yes, I’m afraid — terrified even — but I know that what I stand to gain from this time is far more valuable than anything I may give up in the process. Most of all, I know I must take this first step into the desert. After that, your guess as to what’s next is as good as mine.
When was the last time you went into the desert, friend? When was the last time you dropped the pretenses, the excuses, the preoccupations, and just sought the face of God? What’s holding you back? Of what cannot you not seem to let go? Is it really more valuable than the presence of God? No, it’s not. Seek away, my friends. I will be doing the same.