Before we take a trip, we have a destination in mind – we know where we are going, when we will leave and estimated time of arrival. We have considered the best route and what we need to take with us.
The trip of life, however, isn’t quite so easy. Sometimes it seems we keep wandering in a desert that stretches into infinity, devoid of markers or signposts. We take the first path we see, not sure where it will take us, but hoping we will find a fulfilling and satisfying life along the way. Instead, we often find ourselves at a dead end starting all over again.
The desert training camp
I love the Old Testament because the stories there reveal so much about us.
When God instructed Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, He led them into the desert – a wilderness training camp. When God felt they were ready to leave the desert, He instructed Joshua to lead them across the river Jordan into a land of “milk and honey”, full of promise and good things.
But as the people stood at the banks of the roaring Jordan River, swollen with early spring rains, and looked across to the other side, it wasn’t a land of milk and honey they saw, but a land of giants, walled cities, undefeated kings and well-trained armies – in short, insurmountable odds. Was this the pathway to their new life?
I’m sure Joshua, for all his bravery, might have asked, “God is this really where you want us to go?”
From endings to new beginnings
After the death of my husband I started writing. As a new writer, I was entering a land of giants, a world of talented and gifted people who seemed to have it all together; while I, on the other hand, struggled to put on paper the thoughts and ideas I wanted to convey. The pathway seemed like sand and rocks and raging rivers and the obstacles as large as any giant army or walled city. This land of writing and publication was already inhabited by men and women who were successful in their trade. How could I hope to compete?
And I asked, “God is this really where you want me to go?”
But God sees far beyond the horizon and knows what path each of us is to take. Can we trust the skills and talents He has given us enough to take that next step onto a path we hadn’t seen before? Can we trust that compelling voice that says step out in faith?
But even with His encouragement, we might, like the Israelites of old, run back into the perceived safety of the wilderness rather than step forward into a new reality. The choice is ours: we can continue to wander around in our own deserts or cross over into new territory.
©2013 Marlene Anderson