Finding Life in the Desert

Life in 2020 often feels like journeying through a dry and barren desert. The expanse flows out in all directions while we search for water…life…relief. Many of our usual resources that provide relief are not available. The escapes and distractions are nowhere to be found. In a desert, many of the things that support us ordinarily are of no use. The check book and credit cards can’t help you in the desert. Car keys won’t deliver you. But those who study the desert know it is teeming with life and energy. You just have to know how to look, where to look, and when to look. There are entire eco-systems uniquely suited to living in the desert. But many of us are new to the desert. We can feel intimidated, lost, without resources, and overwhelmed.  Jesus learned to rely on other resources in the desert. We must develop other resources as well. What are the spiritual tools that can help us live in harmony with the resources that are in this desert? In the month of September, join us as we discover together the resources that God provides us in these days. God has always nurtured us…even when we are in a dry and barren land. 

September 6 – Dr. John Stephens
Life in the Desert of Loneliness – 1 Kings 19:1-18

Elijah runs for his life from Queen Jezebel. In the desert, Elijah feels abandoned…as if he is the “only one” left. He feels cut off, spiraling downward, and trapped in loneliness. Yet God is there and equips him with God’s presence and a promise for the future.

September 13 – Dr. John Stephens
Life in the Desert of Boredom – Psalm 42:1-11

We are all longing for God, but it feels as if we have been out of touch with God and those around us. The Psalmist cries out, “Where is your God?” We remember all the glad shouts of yesterday, yet they are missing today. We long for God…not for just another experience or for an escape from the present. 

September 20 – Rev. Josef Klam 
Life in the Desert of Doubt - Matthew 11:1-6

While in prison, John the Baptist sends his disciples to question Jesus. He begins doubting Jesus is who he says he is, asking for a sign. John faces his death - his desert - and he seeks confirmation about Jesus. “Are you the one or should we look for another?” This probing, questioning kind of doubt moves John beyond his old ideas of Messiah to the truth of who Jesus really is.

September 27 – Dr. John Stephens
Life in the Desert of Despair - Deut. 1:26-33 or Exod. 16:1-19

Deut. 1:26-33 - The Hebrews have been delivered from slavery. While in the desert they grumble and “lose heart” and want to go back to Egypt. They desire to return to slavery because this new freedom in the wilderness is too difficult. Despair can cause us to desire the chains of oppression over a new liberation. How can we find hope that will keep us moving toward freedom in the midst of difficulty?
Exodus 16:1-19 - The Hebrews have been delivered from slavery in Egypt. But people go hungry in the desert. They grumble about provision, not trusting God to provide for them. They long to go back to slavery. But God provides daily bread - manna and quail. They are given an option they had not considered before - an option authored by God.

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