“In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt.” Exodus 17:3(a)
Yesterday morning and one phone call later, I found myself traveling down to the Keys to escape the madness surrounding me. It was quick, not planned, and completely unexpected. I gathered my things, got the kids ready, and fled as if I may not be returning- because I may not be.
The scene reminded me of the night before the Israelites left Egypt, sharing and eating their Passover meal and embarking on an unknown journey. We sat around my dining room table with friends who already had a pre-planned vacation, spoke about the current condition of the world and fled- the car packed with our necessary belongings, and some extras.
It was clear that this was the right decision. It was sudden and coincided with the scripture that had been weaving its way in and out of my mind for days.
“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Matthew 24:44
Jesus asked, and I went. No questions, no time to sit and meditate. I had been praying all of my life for this moment- the moment I could simply pick up my things and leave, not knowing where I was going or what would await me. And while the Florida Keys are certainly not the desert, the area that we are in is particularly remote and away from the world.
Leaving behind the things you love the most is the hardest part of the Christian life. The comfortable, the expected, the day-to-day. The journey, the desert is barren, full of uncertainty and new terrain.
But alone in the desert, we can hear God’s voice more clearly than ever before
Almost halfway through Lent, I can honestly say that I had taken baby steps. Yes, I have been walking forward, but afraid to completely take the plunge. I was still very much connected to the outside, still surrounded by lots of noise and now a lot of panic. My Lord has asked me to flee my safe place and head out on a journey into the desert- no more checking the phone for updates, no more twenty four hour news cycle.
He wants to leave me dependent on Him for the food and water I will need to sustain me out here
In the gospel reading for today, Jesus’ disciples urged him to eat. But Jesus speaks to them about food that they do not know. He says to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and finish his work.” John 4:34
If we continue to exist in our current state, continue to panic as God is calling us farther into the desert, we will never find the great joy of Easter. If we want for the way things were, we are just like the Israelites, complaining to God that things were better before.
But unlike the Israelites, when we are tired and thirsty from our journey, we have a well to draw from- Jesus himself. Jesus is the living water, the well that never runs dry- desert or not. This beautiful image of our thirst and longing in this trying time reminds us to stop searching in the world and to instead search for Him.
We cannot have one foot in this world, and one in His
It’s time we take the total plunge for the second half of Lent
Turn off your t.v’s and computers and phone updates. You already know what to do. If you’ve already begun your quarantine with Christ, chances are you’ve already begun to see and understand this truth. We are thirsty, we are tired, we are longing for Him. He is saying to us, I have everything you need, follow me.
I cannot tell you what the future will hold, but what I can tell you about is the peace that I have, completely abandoning my will for His, my way of life for His. I heard the call and I am not afraid. Will you hear it too?