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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Remembering ALL the roads

Remember:  To think of again and again; to remain aware of; bringing what exists in the unconscious mind back into the conscious mind.  All of us remember things - some a little differently than others.  I remember my first "solo" bike ride - but mostly because I have scars to show for it!  I remember the birth of my two children, but not every excruciating moment!  I remember the meal we had for dinner last night - but it carries no significance to me. There are times when we remember stuff in a manner which really is a little "off" in the perspective of aligning with the actual way things "went down". We have "fabricated" our own "truth" in the memory.  If you have ever been on a mountain-top experience for a while, you likely have some pretty fond memories of those moments in time.  On the other hand, if you have also endured the dryness of the desert times, you might just have some pretty significant memories of those experiences which almost did you in.

Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. Your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister those forty years. You learned deep in your heart that God disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child.  (Deuteronomy 8: 2-5 MSG)

Every road is the opportunity for a memory.  Every desert experience is a moment in time when God directed his attention toward something in us which needed to get exposed - some good, some not so much.  The mountain top experience doesn't quite have the same impact of "exposing" our hearts as the desert does.  In the dryness and barrenness of the desert, what we really have deep in our hearts just seems to get revealed.  Amazing how a little "frustration" in a good moment can turn into outright "anger" in the desert, huh?  The desert has a way of magnifying what is really buried deep within.  Maybe this is the purpose of the desert - so our hearts get some time to reveal their true selves!

Probably the most significant part of our memories is "what" we hold onto from these experiences.  The tidbits of truth, moments of hope, revealed truths - we don't hold onto the "entirety" of the desert experience in our memory, just the memorable moments.  Some in Christianity refer to these as those "teachable" moments.  Others call them their "AHA" moments. Whatever you may call them, they are the times when something of significant revelation occurred.  A part of you was revealed - God enlightened you to not only yourself, but to his grace to change that part into what he actually envisioned for us.  These are the moments we create "memory" about because they speak to us of the growth produced even in the barrenest places of our lives.

Most don't recall the tests of obedience - yet the desert is full of them.  In the midst of the desert, God is calling for some element of obedient response from us.  We usually hold onto the "results" of the steps of obedience, but forget the actual moments of distress which brought the revelation of where our obedience was being called for.  We don't think about "how" we got from step A to step B - we just know we got there!  I think God instructed Israel to remember ALL the roads they traveled in the desert because each had a significance in their overall growth.  I think this is why I enjoy keeping a journal of those important moments - capturing in word what God is speaking deep into my heart.  It gives me a way to recall his dealings.  It also gives me a way to gauge my reactions and actions to his call for obedience in my life!

In the midst of the a test, there is a whole lot of silence.  Why?  To give you time to process your thought - to bring into you conscious mind what has been stored away in your unconscious mind.  The desert provides silence.  You don't see or hear much, but you become very conscious of what is working in your mind!  I think this is important for us to recognize because we sometimes think God deserts us in the desert, but in truth, he just gives us time to realize what we already know!  The desert just brings it to the surface a little clearer!  

If you walk in the desert long enough, you begin to realize the fruitfulness you possess already!  The desert has a way of bringing out the fruit.  You might not think this possible because you only see the barrenness, sense the quietness, and resist the "heat" of the desert experience.  In the midst of the desert, God is showing us what matters - what we can hold onto.  So, rather than resist the "dryness", maybe it is time to allow it to bring out what we already know, but maybe haven't brought into the forefront of our memory in a while!  Just sayin!