The photo awes me. It is stunningly beautiful, the shadows, the softness of the angles, the vastness of the sand dunes. I am pulled in by the lone figure walking, his footsteps behind him with a long journey ahead of him.
I feel a touch of sadness because he is alone, and overwhelmed because there is so much ahead of him. I wonder what it looks like to him from his vantage point. Perhaps he only sees the large dune ahead of him, and we see the many, many dunes spreading out endlessly.
Is this God’s vantage point? He sees all that lies ahead of us, but all I can see is the right now, today.
With where the world is right now, where life is right now, there are many times when I long to know where I am going and when I will get there.
When will the pandemic end?
Will we survive?
Will we ever enter into a time of peace again?
Will broken relationships be restored?
Will struggling family members find peace and hope?
Will our nation heal?
I don’t have answers. All I have is today, the present moment.
If I were to see ahead, and know the long journey that awaits me, would I get discouraged and give up?
I think of the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years, complaining, struggling, focused on all the negatives, losing sight of God and His provision, ungrateful for all they’d be given. They’d been brought out of Egypt and quickly forgot the majesty and power and deliverance of God.
Perhaps that’s why I feel sad. Because I feel sometimes like that’s me, wandering aimlessly around in the desert, not making progress, hitting roadblocks and challenges, feeling beat up and weary. And I complain and lose sight of God. Times when I don’t want to persevere because it’s too hard. Times when my faith wanes and all I can see is a long hard road ahead of me and I want to quit.
This is a photo of disorientation. No wonder I am drawn to it. The vastness and monochromatic tones of the desert remind me of the days that stretch before us, often without purpose, little to look forward to, the inability to plan much into the future.
But in the desert, the Israelites had been given a promise.
The Promised Land.
God’s abundant provision.
I sense God reminding me of His provision, His love, His goodness, His faithfulness. Even though life can feel like this picture, He is present. He invites me to practice thankfulness, to not look ahead to what I can imagine, but to be present. To trust Him that He will guide me through.
My yes to God is that I will keep going. That I will set my sight on Him and the Promised Land, whatever that is.
That I will not languish (become feeble, weak, or enervated; live in a state of depression or decreasing vitality; become dispirited; or assume an expression of grief or emotion appealing for sympathy).
I will not whine and complain but I will remember and persevere. I will be thankful—enter into His courts with thanksgiving.
I think of Psalm 100.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
This is a psalm of reorientation.
Of practicing joy and thanksgiving and gladness and praise.
To be reminded of His goodness, His mercy and His truth.
I understand that this Psalm is where I need to return in the desert. In a strange way this gives me hope.