The Desert of the Real

Monday 3 December 2007

Chatting with Barefoot Barbara about the desert this morning and pondering how it is that I have come to love this place that I once fled from as if my backside was on fire. It has become for me the desert of the real. Where once it felt like a barren, dry place, now I have "got my eye in" I can see the beauty in the barrenness. God is all around. This picture deserves a second time round on this blog. It is one of my very favourites; I love it so. It speaks to me so loudly, so aptly describes the beauty I can see now in the desert places.

I think of the promise that God made when he said that he would make streams of water come up in the desert. I feel a stream or two inside of me. It began springing up as I was forced to spring down, to die to my own wilful steering. The stream is not as big as I would like it to be. It hasn't drowned many of my multitudinous sins. It hasn't changed me as much as I would like. But there's life where before there was death, and it amazes me. It's a reminder that God's intention is to make all of my deserts streams. Whether in this age or the next or the next. However long it takes. Which gives hope. But can also create frustration. A day is as a thousand years is very true - his conceptions of time are certainly not mine :)

My mate Richard said:

We have to pull back and learn the great art of detachment, which is not aloof, but the purifying of attachment. Our religion is not pure detachment or pure attachment; it's a dance between the two. Another set of images for this reality is the desert and the city. Jesus moves back and forth between desert and city. In the city, he feels himself losing perspective, love, and center and has to go out to the desert to see the real again. And when he is alone in the desert, his passionate union with the Father drives him back to the pain of the city.

Everything Belongs

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