Week 42 Monday

Wilderness Wandering

Today’s scripture selection: Deuteronomy 1-3

Key verse: Deuteronomy 2:7

“The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.”

Over the years I’ve heard a fair number of critics make the case for how God was anything but merciful when “sentencing” the Hebrew people to wander in the wilderness for forty years.  Why does Scripture say God did this?  For their disobedience; lack of trust; idolatry – just to name a few reasons.

What I haven’t heard as often is the acknowledgement that we find in Deuteronomy 2:7.  God executed judgment upon the people, that’s true.  But He also made sure that during their years of wandering – forty years to be exact – He was with them and they “lacked nothing.”

I think that’s worth noting.

We still find ourselves, for various reasons, spiritually “wandering” today.

We may think of ourselves as religious – or faithful for that matter – yet think God doesn’t notice or care.

We may be quick to question if God has abandoned us when life seems too overwhelming.

We may even be pretty quick to tell others, or at least think to ourselves, how “unfair” God can be.

But the beauty of grace is that God is “big” enough to handle such complaints.  In fact, I think God welcomes them.

The God I know is so full of grace and understanding, he allows me to be open and honest about my

  • Fears
  • Doubts
  • Anger
  • Questions
  • Disappointment in Him
  • And much more

And, once I openly express my frustration – He is more than willing to help me understand why I have been going through whatever it is I was complaining so loudly about.

In other words, God calmly, and lovingly, reminds me that even in my wilderness wandering He has been there with me and I, like so many before me, have “lacked nothing.”

So go ahead.  In difficult times, be honest about how you’re feeling.  Let God know all about your true feelings and thoughts.  He knows them already anyway.

And then, when you are calm enough – pray.  Pray for understanding.  Pray for a sense of his loving presence.

And I believe you’ll find it.

Even in the wilderness.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your abiding presence and care for me.  Even when I, for the moment, doubt it is there.  AMEN.

 

 

 

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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