Deserts can be lonely, isolated, and treacherous places. When a person wanders in a desert, they can easily get disoriented, dehydrated, confused, lost, and vulnerable. Temptation is at its peak, especially when confronted with something that may offer some respite or relief, even a mirage. Deserts can bring us to our weakest moment and tempt our faith.
The Christian journey can be described as a desert experience as we vacillate back and forth, falling victim to the mirages of our lives versus the true, life-giving water offered by God. We need a burning bush experience in our lives that convinces us of the power of God and reveals Him as the “I am” of all existence.
Moses was leading his flock across the desert when he found himself at Mount Horeb. Mountains give us a fuller perspective of life, a panoramic view of what would otherwise be hidden from the limitations of our sight. That’s when Moses met God. We have to find our way to a mountain experience where our vantage point can take on a wider view of life. Many things can do this for us: the birth of a child, the death of someone we love, the joy that comes from marveling at the beauty of God’s work, the pondering of life’s mysteries, and the ache of longing found deep within our souls. There are many things in life that can wake us up, give us a clearer, better view of things and become occasions where a bush may burn and God’s presence as the eternal uncreated One is revealed.
God is very patient and gives us the time and space we need to figure things out and bear some good fruit. He doesn’t rush to cut us down or get frustrated with our barrenness. But we have to remember that the desert journeys of our lives come with some risks. The major risk is that we will mistakenly believe that the mirages are real. Thus, we fall victim to thinking that the respite and refreshment we seek is discovered in a place other than where it actually is. Our faith and the life of the Church are the safeguards we need to keep us properly orientated so that we don’t get lost or confused and stay on course.BACK TO LIST