Desert Journeys 29
April 10th 2017
I have been privileged to travel widely in my life. I have seen majestic mountains, green valleys covered in wildflowers, awe-inspiring waterfalls, animals of every size and shape, and oceans teeming with fantastically coloured coral and fish.
But one of my favourite areas of beauty is the desert. I have wept for joy at a breath-taking sunset. I have been lost for words at the intricacy of limestone formations. I have laughed with exhilaration, racing over massive sand dunes on a quad bike.
We often use the desert as a metaphor for difficult times, loneliness or solitude. Indeed, all of these have their place, and God can teach us much, and show us his power and faithfulness in them.
Lent can be like that. It reminds us of the sadness of Jesus’ journey to the Cross; of the seriousness of our failures which demanded his sacrifice; of the wretchedness of life without the grace of God.
But the desert can also be a place of life and growth, of amazing discovery, of adventure and celebration.
And Lent can be the same—as we read our Bibles, give more time to prayer, live generously and spend time with the people of God, we can be enriched in faith, encouraged in hope and excited by all that God can do in and through our lives each day as we give ourselves into his hands.
In Philippians 4, Paul exhorts us to rejoice in the Lord. I love the way Eugene Peterson phrases it in The Message: Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!
Let’s make Lent not only a time of reflection, but also a time of rejoicing—beauty in the desert.