Tag Archives: guilt

My Spiritual Desert

As I walked into the desert, there was nothing but sand beneath my feet and few trees, and nothing but a loud silence! To be away from the noise and bustle of life felt good, and I hadn’t even taken my phone with me! The worry did cross my mind however, that no one knew where I was, and if I was to get lost this could be problematic.

Along time before that desert experience, I had, had another, it was not dissimilar. There was what felt to be a large expanse, and there was a silence, deep and penetrating.

This was not a physical desert, there was no sand beneath my feet or hard rock. There were no trees or anything to speak off. For this desert was spiritual, internal, truly lonely. You could be in a crowd and yet alone. What was worse, was that I could not see, hear or feel God. It felt like he was distant, absent, uncaring.

When God is gone from your life it’s like there is a limb missing, another dimension to your life ceases to be. So you carry on the best you can, going through the motion of life, the rituals or church. Looking at others who seem to have it altogether in terms of their spiritual life, and wondering why you have been left behind. Or perhaps asking the question what have I done wrong?

I read various books about people in similar experiences, I read the book of Job in the bible, and discovered that he knew the similar isolation. That even though there were others like me, it didn’t ease my sense of spiritual isolation, because  for no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get back to where I was with God. I didn’t know how to, I had lost my way, I had taken a wrong turn and now found myself lost without a compass.

From my reading, I learnt that sometimes people go through these experiences of isolation. Jesus did in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights when he was tempted in every way, Job as a whole book written about his spiritual desert. Yet for these and so many others they kept believing, hoping, trusting in God. They didn’t walk away, they didn’t give up.

I’m not sure at what point things started to change for me? But the burden of the desert began to become lighter, and slowly I became more aware once again of Gods presence around me and within. I even during prayer near the end of this time received a picture of Jesus standing waiting for me on the desert edge.

The first desert I spoke of at the beginning of this post is one in Australia in the outback of New South Wales, is the tradition for the aborigines to go walkabout, to go into the desert for a period of self-discovery. Perhaps my desert was mine, perhaps God was testing me, testing my metal, my perseverance, my trust in him.

Sometimes it is only through silence we make such discoveries, sometimes it’s only through personal loss we discover who our friends are, sometimes it’s through our brokenness we discover the quality of the Christian community that’s surrounds us.

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Over the coming few weeks of Lent, these posts are going to be focused on personal experiences of God and my journey with him, the joys and sorrows leading us to the wonder of Resurrection day. Hope you enjoy them feel free to comment and or click the like button.

The secret to peace

My daughter is for ever telling on her older brother for is apparent wrongs, no matter how minor, sometimes she will even throw something at him if he annoys her a lot!

When your wronged what would you like to do to the person who hurt you? Seek revenge or seek to forgive? Which I wonder is harder the latter of the former, which brings the most rewards, the most peace, but also perhaps is the most costly?

The act of forgiveness doesn’t so much affect the perpetrator. It doesn’t mean they don’t have to deal with the consequences of their actions or live with their guilt.

Forgiveness releases the victim, brings healing to the one who has been wronged. Forgiveness gives us a choice, to draw a line in the metaphorical sand of experiences. To say to ourselves I will not let him or the situation define me, shape me, cripple me more than it has. I will not let it break me more than it looks like it has done.

So should we forgive someone’s involvement in the the pain of another or indeed ourselves? Not that we allow them to reoffend, but set them and us free to flourish rather than be rooted by the ball and chain of guilt, shame and the realities of there crimes and our sense of victimisation.

There may be situations in our lives that have needed a serious effort to forgive. Not just once or twice, but every day. I find I can’t do this on my own, but Jesus helps me, to such a point that forgiveness over a long period becomes a habit, a line in the sand which I don’t step over, and god stands with me on that line. However if I or we step over into the darkness beyond the line, Jesus takes our hand and gently leads me back to the light.

Forgiveness isn’t cheap, nor is it easy, but it is a journey worth traveling as the best journeys often are. Forgivness enabled Nelson Mandela to work with his former white oppressors, it helped Martin Luther king push the agenda of racial equality. There are so many other examples, and when we look at the issues of Syria, or Ukraine, with the unwillingness to forgive, leads to the hell confusion and human degeneration we see on our TV screens. The unwillingness to forgive in Northern Ireland challenges the future of the peace process. A lack of forgiveness challenges our ability yours and mine to receive healing and move forward free people.

This day this moment, ask the Lord to help you begin the road to forgiveness and ultimately your personal peace and salvation.

 

 

 

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