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Out of the wilderness

By Barbara Kugle
Special to The PREVIEW

I’ve been wandering around for weeks in one of those spiritual wildernesses all Christians eventually find themselves in.

At this point, I’m not sure how I got so lost, but I know from experience I’ll muddle my way through it until I’ve arrived at the inevitable ah-ha moment.

I know this because the Bible tells me so, though at the moment I don’t know where exactly in the Bible it tells me so. I suppose that’s some of what makes the wilderness experience a wilderness.

Part of it has to do with the fact that a publisher, after several months of toying with my emotions, let me down with a “good” rejection. At least I can say my labor has not been in vain.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t feel that good. It was just one of a number of distractions I didn’t know was a distraction, until I found myself on the wilderness side of the Jordan.

While wandering around in this vast plain of nothingness, I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” It’s one of those mindless questions the brain tends to repeat without permission.

Finding one’s self in the wilderness is not an altogether bad thing, because we know God will always supply the manna. I know because I’ve been gathering it up and digesting it one day at a time. While I wait to cross over into the Promised Land, I’d like to share a few manna crumbs that have sustained me while camping here on the eastern edge of the Jordan.

• “When the darkness of dismay comes, endure it until it is over, because out of it will come that following of Jesus which is an unspeakable Joy.” (“My Utmost For His Highest” —  Oswald Chambers)

• Accepting myself and my nature for what it is, while never losing sight of the perfection of holiness for which I strive. “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do –  this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7: 18, 19 NIV)

• “I am a human being in contradiction, a problem and a perplexity to myself.” (J. I. Packer, “Knowing and Doing God’s Will.”)

• “My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I write my verses for the King; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.”(Psalm 45 NIV)

This has been a favorite verse, more for whimsical purposes than anything particularly spiritual. But then I discovered something about the word stirred that – well, stirred me. It is when the mind is stirred by emotion that we are able to put our feelings into words. Our pen is the brush we use to paint vivid word pictures. Emotions stirred are–passions realized.

And, when I’ve finally crossed the Jordan to face the battles ahead, I’ll remember the wilderness. I’ll remember from whence I came and, “I’ll press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Readers’ comments

Send your faith articles (500 to 800 words) to betty@bettyslade.com. All faiths invited.

This story was posted on April 18, 2013.