The Desert…

28 08 2008

Something that encouraged me today, taken from a wonderful devotional site called Sacred Space:

“What does the desert signify in the story of the people of Israel, of John the Baptist, and then Jesus himself? It was not a destination, but a place for travellers going somewhere, journeying to a new life. Jesus had gone into the desert an unknown young carpenter from Nazareth, with thirty years of hidden life behind him. After the desert he returned to Galilee with power of the Spirit in him, and started to preach. Quickly he became a public figure, but he loved to withdraw to desert or mountain to recharge his energies by prayer. He moved forward like any of us, with no sure knowledge of what was to happen him. His life was shaped by the spirit driving him forward, but shaped also by the accidents of his life, the enthusiasm of some of his listeners and the resistance of others. He had a sense of where God was calling him (¬‘I am sent to cast fire on the earth.’ Luke 12:49) and of the joy he felt in this vocation (‘My meat is to do the will of him who sent me.’ John 4:34) After the quiet life of Nazareth, Jesus’ public life was tumultuous. If we are to do justice to his humanity, we must accept that he did not know what would happen next, only that this was where God wanted him to be.
Most of us could point to a similar second calling, though we might not think of it in that way. A second journey like this is not an easy option. It means casting adrift from the security you have enjoyed, not knowing where the road will take you. In all this journeying we are looking for light from the Lord, as John Henry Cardinal Newman expressed it,

Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom, lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home, lead thou me on!”


Change on the Way…

28 08 2008

For my entire 26 years on this earth, new life seasons have come my way as a result of my moving away from others.  My family moved around quite a bit as I was growing up, and, since college, I have moved from Fresno to Sacramento, then Sacramento to Pasadena, cutting off or changing relationships in each of the old places and beginning new ones.  Newness has been a result of moving.

But in the past few months, I am beginning to recognize the approach of a new season, not as a result of moving anywhere but instead as a result of staying put.  In fact, for the first time in my life, I have been the one to wave goodbye as wonderfully close friends have driven off to new places and new adventures.

May brought the first of the departures – my friend Jeff, who has the most sincere way of experiencing life and relationships than anyone I know.  He’s now living it up in Cleveland becoming a hospital chaplain.

Then, the end of July brought 3 goodbyes in one week!  First was Kacy, who has the most wonderful excitement for life.  She’s now back in her homestate of Texas and she’s going become the most wonderful Marriage and Family Therapist east of the Rockies.

Then left Candice, a friend I’m glad to say I’ve had since high school, and I have been so blessed to live in the same city as her for the past year.  She left sunny California for Minnesota and a wonderful man named Trevor whom she will marry in November.  I’m excited to be in her wedding!  I also said goodbye to Jen and Tyler, a couple who has hosted my weekly life group at church faithfully for the past two years.  They are now back in Utah and I will miss them very much!

This week I’m saying goodbye to Helen, Jamie, and Betty, though they will luckily still be in the Los Angeles area for another month or so.  They have been the most wonderful community, and I am so sad this season has to end.  I was talking with another friend the other week, one I left behind a couple years ago, and we talked about the sacrifice of those who stay so that those who leave can experience all God has for them.  I would never choose to have these incredible friends leave – I wish we could somehow seal this time forever – and yet I know I must release them to what is necessarily next in their lives.  I am not yet ready to leave, and yet in staying I am not avoiding change.

In so many ways I am discovering God bringing things to the surface of my heart and mind that have been covered up until now.  These things could have only surfaced by my staying put (still without a clear direction of where to step next), by experiencing the pain and the confusion, by being willing to remain in it for a time so that through it God might prepare me to move when it is my time again.

So for now, I am staying put – not without a bit of discomfort, but welcoming this season of change that God is bringing my way.