photos and text by June Friesen,
Moving is often anticipated to be a new beginning. One may have found their dream home. One may have found their dream country/state/city. Or it may be a new job or a promotion or a new degree. For some, moving may be from sickness to health, from loneliness to finding a friend, from feeling no one listens, cares or understands to finding someone who really does listen. So how is it that you and I can anticipate moving from where we find ourselves at this moment to the next and better place? Let us look at one of the struggles the Israelites encountered soon after they left Egypt. They had been looking for a place where they could just be with God and where life would not be full of punishment and bondage. But could it have been fantasy on their part without thinking and/or embracing the whole of reality? How about you and I, do we too fantasize sometimes when it comes to reality in our lives?
In Exodus 15: 22-26, we find Moses leading the Israelites on after they had crossed the Red Sea. While they were glad to be free from Egypt when they traveled three days without finding water they were having a change of heart. Finally, they found water but it was too bitter to drink. God told Moses to place a stick in the water – and then the water was sweet to drink. God also told Moses to let the people know there would be rules to follow and if they listened and obeyed, God would be with them and He would be their Healer.
So today we find ourselves walking through a wilderness –
Emptiness, barrenness, sticks, stones, thorns, fallen leaves strewn around –
Dry, cracked, parched dirt, dry creek beds, parched lakes and streams,
What is this journey going to bring but even more sorrow, pain and possible death?
Life never has been that easy from my perspective –
As I think back over my life I can remember how even as a child
I longed to experience life as many others around me –
It seemed as if they never had to work as hard as I did,
It seemed that they always had numerous, nice clothes to wear,
It seemed as if they did not have numerous rules to follow and expectations to meet,
If only… if only I could live in a family like theirs,
If only – and quite frankly, I even questioned God sometimes in my prayers –
“God, if You really love me why do You allow me to endure this life that I am having to live and to embrace?”
And as you are reading this today, maybe it is that you are experiencing many of these same feeling/thoughts,
Where is hope? Where is healing? When is Covid going to end?
And I am reminded of the words from Hebrews 13 where the writer assures us
That God is always with us; He will never leave us alone.
As I have been hiking through various landscapes here in the state of Arizona during these months of Covid,
I have seen the brokenness of nature –
Some of it is natural/seasonal; some of it is due to the drought that we are experiencing,
Yet for much and most of nature, it seems as if there is a rest present –
An awaiting for new life, waiting for healing from the dryness that is present –
And as it is waiting it continues to provide as simply as it can the purpose at hand –
Even if when it used to be shade it is now stability and/or a home for birds/animals –
Waiting for that moment of refreshed healing by the rain waters from above when life will once again gain new fullness.
As I have been sitting the last few months I too have wondered when I have not been able to continue ministry work as I was used to –
Will my usefulness all fade and die with this pandemic?
People are still in need due to brokenness of spirit, health, emotions and for some death –
We have telephones, mail, email, computers, tablets and Zoom,
And so I began to reach out through these avenues and have found
There is healing, restoration, encouragement, hope and courage
Fostered in so many different ways –
There is healing that has been realized,
There have been new relationships formed.
Today, I do not know what you are facing, if discouraged or encouraged,
I do not know what avenues you have found for healing or restoration,
Maybe you are or have become one who shares healing or restoration –
As each one of us embraces our own admission of need –
May we embrace the gifts that God has given to us at this time –
May each one of us embrace the gift given by God to the Israelites through Moses:
“I am God, your Healer.”
Hebrews 13: 5-6: Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?
Check out Guidelines for a Personal Retreat available now as a download for only $4.99!