“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on the earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have the opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16).
To quell the rumors…
I have NOT, in fact, climbed the heights of Mt. Nebo and taken my plunge into eternity (please refer last post). I’m still here, walking with the view of Promise in my mind and living with the truth of God’s love in my heart. I’ve heard from many of you over the past few days, and I appreciate your concern. But what I want you to know is that my last post didn’t write from a place of deep depression. Instead, I wrote it from a place of deep introspection. A point of deep conviction and with a sense of urgency that required my obedience via my pen.
Sometimes, these moments come to a soul and pulse so loudly within that, if not spoken aloud, they will bury their voice long and deep, never to sing the melody they were meant to chorus. I learned a long time ago to tend to these melodies. This was one of those occasions, and without risking the integrity of the writing, I would like to unpack it a little more for you today.
Here’s something you need to know.
I don’t climb Mt. Nebo so that I can fast forward into my next. No, I climb Mt. Nebo so that I can better live in my now. The view is breathtaking, even as it was for Moses. It reminds me that I am not home yet. That for all of the promise that can be tasted on this side of eternity, there is a greater promise yet to come.
Moses was quickly ushered into his next without time enough to linger in his lust for the now. He moved from an earthly best into God’s best in a single pause. I find this profound and revelatory and a sacred gift from God to this servant who lived his life as a desert dweller, more than he did as a promise taster. It simply was his journey to make.
As it was with Moses, so it is with me. I am a desert dweller. In fact I wrote an entire series of posts on the topic. It is not a popular view in Christian circles. Most pulpits won’t preach it, and most retreats won’t teach it. Desert living simply doesn’t package well with promotions aimed toward promise and abundance and lush and green.
I love these packages. I’ve purchased most of them. I believe in them and want more than anything to walk in them. But in my daily, I don’t. Not usually. I’ve monitored the condition of my heart for years. I’ve tended to my spiritual pilgrimage and been careful to administer the daily checklists of a Christian obedience. I live Jesus, each and every day, and I am bold enough, or perhaps just crazy enough, to admit that…
most of them walk dusty and hot and hard.
Now, before you send me your books on abundant living and on breaking free from my sands of struggle, you also need to know this.
I’m learning contentment in the desert because I believe that my life was meant to walk as such. I am a pilgrim in search of a better country—a place of perfected promise and full abundance and a pure truth that breathes lush and green. It is an incomparable glory that far outweighs the “all” of my now. Thus, my reasoning for my dusty roads and my acceptance of them accordingly.
Try as I may, I can’t shake them. They have been my portion for as long as I can remember. So here’s the deal.
I can keep trying to shake them and nearly wear myself out with the prescribed and well-intentioned gymnastics of self-help and spiritual disciplines, or I can learn to walk them in faith and with the full expectation that my temporary is seeding for me an eternity that will blow the dust from my eyes and my feet with the full force of God’s forever.
I can learn the beauty and abundance of a long and hard obedience, even in the desert. What choice levels better in the heat of a summer season?
Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, knew what it was to walk a desert road. He lived it. His fleshly frame was cloaked with it. Like me, He was a pilgrim in search of a better country who managed to hold onto and to cherish the sacred perspective of an unseen tomorrow. He never lost sight of it. Not once, because he knew that his Father was seeding in him an eternity that would blow away the sands of our temporal once and for all.
Calvary. Easter. Forever.
A resurrection Bloom that has bled vibrant and alive and lush and green for over 2000 years. Jesus is the desert’s bloom, and thus, I can find the strength and the contentment for the dusty road I currently step.
I am a desert pilgrim. Perhaps it will be my life’s assignment. The desert may not be your portion. You may be walking in the beauty and blossoms of a Spring season. I love this about you. I celebrate this with you, and I relish in your joy. But don’t make the mistake of crying for me in my summer’s walk. God has deemed it important. He is teaching me to trust and to watch and to wait for the beauty of unseen vistas and untouched blossoms. Even as he did for Moses, he does for me.
He walks the journey alongside, whether we’re climbing the difficult mountains toward surrender, or we’re walking the glorious resurrection of such an obedience. Either way, Jesus understands the gap between things visioned and things yet to be tasted.
Either way, he is the bloom of both. In the desert and in promise.
And thus I pray,
For the mighty displays of your witness in all seasons of this journey, I thank you Lord. For being the bloom along my weary and well-worn path, I bow in humble adoration for your companioned beauty and your lasting aroma. I may never understand the fullness of my desert, but I will always endeavor to do so from your guiding watch within. Let me not balk at summer’s heat or falter in my steps toward your forever. You are good and gracious to give me this day, regardless of how it breathes. May I never discount the sacred value of the current road that we travel together. Open my eyes to see, my mind to conceive, and my heart to believe that all is living as you intended for it to live. In me. Through me. And most days, in spite of me…until my now crosses over into my next. Amen.
Copyright © September 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.
I haven’t forgotten our walk to Emmaus. We will return to our series in my next post. Shalom!