Friday, June 17, 2011

Wandering in the Wilderness

People need direction.  I think it is innate in us to need to know where we are headed.  We need to know if we are to turn left or right on the next street, which fork in the road to follow, and where on earth our destination point is.  We become frustrated and aggravated when our path seems to lead us no where.  When we turn down the wrong road, or drive right on past our destination.  Even our kids seem to have some born in need to know what is going on and where they are going.  

Anyone with small children, that have ever ridden in a car knows this all to well.  It seems from the time our children can talk they are asking, "Are we there yet" and "Where are we going".  So much for a surprise, you can forget about that!  They want to know and they will continue to ask until a satisfactory answer is given, or you reach your point of interest.  Which ever comes first.  In fact, I have a child that is constantly correcting me on my driving and direction ability.  My 4 year old (yes you read that right), for at least the past year or more, let's me know when he feels I have turned left when I should have turned right, when I'm going the wrong way, or when Chick Fil A is the other direction.  Oddly, he's often right.  I'm not sure if it's some born in sense of direction or if he's just really lucky or if I just go to Chick Fil A WAY too often.  So there are no surprise trips anywhere, since he knows how to get everywhere and don't try telling him different, he already knows best.  

So what happens to us when we loose our sense of direction?  It seems are humans we become disoriented, which in turn leads to anxiety and fear.  So if we have such a natural and physical when we seriously can't find the street on a map, it stands to reason we will have a similar response when we can't find out way in life.  Right now we are in one of those places.  A chapter is coming to a close in our lives and a new one is set to begin, but where?  Where does the chapter begin and seriously I need to know how it will end.  Understand, I'm not a person that reads the entire book, I'd rather read the last chapter and be done.  

I can read the rest of it later to figure out what I missed if I have time, but right now I just want to know the ending.  That way I can determine if everyone ends up ok and if the hero triumphs over evil.  I wish I could read the end of my book and make sure it all ends up ok in the end.  That my children end up living for God, that my husband ends up happy and fulfilled at work,  and that as a family we are productive in the work God has laid out for us.  I don't need the details, they really aren't my thing.  I just need the ending.  I just need to know it will all be ok.  I don't need to sit and count up the number of valleys and mountain tops I will reach, the firey furnaces I will endure, or the trials that are set out for our family.  I just need to know that when it all is said and done we will be successful. 

Of course, I really would like to know what and where the next turn is.  What the end of the next chapter will be, where it's going to take us.  As Phil enters his last months of this degree, what will the next one be?  What is the time frame we are looking at?  And will this ever end?  I'm tired of hearing I can't, I have school work.  I'm tired of the long weekends without seeing my husband.  The long weeks where he don't come home until 9 or 10.  The day upon days he's gone.  The days when he's home, but not really, because he has homework.  I'm really just done, and in the end I'm not sure it's worth it.  I feel lost and run down.  

In these days when I feel like we've lost our way, when our path feels like it's going no where, and when I don't know what the next turn is, I am reminded of Joseph.  I'm sure he sat in prision not sure if it was all worth it.  Not knowing his next chapter.  And yet, God held him through.  We read the book of Joseph now, and it seems so happy and upbeat, like Joseph knew he'd be standing strong in the end.  That he'd be man #2 in charge, that he'd be made rich like a king.  But I think Joseph's story might be a little different.  I think maybe, because he was human he had times when he cried out to God and asked why.  When he asked to see where his road was going to lead, where he asked for some direction.  I'm sure he felt like is was wandering in a wilderness, unsure of where he was going or what was going to come next.  We don't read about this between the chapters life though.  No, actually when I read the story he seems like a bright kid, upbeat and excited to face his next trial.  I have to imagine that when God writes down our lives he does some editing for future generations.  That as long as we keep trying, as long as we get up, and as long as we keep our spirit right, He goes in edits out the long nights of crying out to Him, the doubt and fear we sometimes feel.  That when He edits our life story He makes sure to remove our blemishes and down falls, and leaves us looking confident and sure in front of our reading audience.  He leaves our story as one of hope and perseverance.  Yes, I believe God takes the spirit of the letter and not the letter of the letter.  I mean can I really believe that even if God himself in Jesus had doubts Joseph didn't?  The thought in and of itself is preposterous. 

So as I wonder through this wilderness, and as this chapter on my life closes, I will sit back and anxiously await to write the next one in my life, because in the end the hero always wins.  Besides I read the last chapter, and when the book is closed we have the victory.  So I guess I'll just sit back and see what details unfold.         

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