In my "Retreat in Daily Life" I am spending time with Jesus in the wilderness.
And what I know is that there are aspects of my life which really feel like the wilderness. That is, if wilderness is a time of confusion. This picture looks like me sitting and wondering what is true and what is false and what to do and what not to do. I begin the day in prayer wanting some answers and enlightenment and I want it now.
As I thought about the three temptations of Jesus I realized that when Satan was tempting him to turn some stone into bread, he was essentially saying - you can get out of here. On your own. When he was inviting him to worship him, he was saying much the same thing - you don't have to stay here in this place of desolation. And when he encouraged him to put God to the test by jumping off a cliff, he was inviting spectacle and not humble trust. I get it.
Nationally, I listened to the state of the union that ended with the flourish "The state of the union is strong!" and then afterwards I listened to those who disagreed. In the life of the church, I am preaching at churches in transition and wondering whether they will grow or die or just keep on keeping on until the money ends. And in my own family life, there are significant questions about the sources of healing and the hope for an independent life for Brian.
It is ambiguous, confusing and ultimately for me - unsettling. I want to be positive and hopeful about everything at the same time I know it is easy to live in a sort of delusion and denial. And then there I - not in a wise awareness of the "both - and" of life, but just in confusion. Wondering: what is my role here? How am I being called?
Richard Rohr writes about chemist turned Philosopher Polanyi:
"He never denied objective reality; he just said we must be humble and tentative about our ability to know it.
We are all partial knowers; all verbalizations are filled with biography, preference, genius, and past hurts...we are all invested in our knowing.
This leads us to a necessary humility and to a very unsettling sense of the certitude that we all want and need.
It seems we must somehow "kneel" to hear and see correctly."
So I am kneeling in the wilderness with Jesus. This is what I wrote this morning
Sitting in the Wilderness with Jesus
Who assures me that God has brought me here
He waits with me and strengthens me when I want to
he calls me to wait with God when I want to follow other paths
He invites me to simplicity as I want heroic spectacle instead of faithful obedience.
He is Here with Me
TRUST THE FATHER
I LOVE YOU
And I remember waiting when I was in labor - through a lot of pain - for new life to be born
Is this a place of birthing?