Seeking Jesus in the deserts of life

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I've never been to a desert.

It's a place I really want to get to during the course of my life, though. It must be a place of extremes -- extreme loss, extreme desolation, extreme beauty. There's something in the desert's extremes that is courageous. It's not a lukewarm place with lots of middle ground, but a place that faces and experiences things. A place where life defies expectations and endures.

A place where we could really get ourselves out of the way and get to know God. A place we would be more attentive to him revealing himself to us.

Jesus followed the Spirit into the desert for 40 days out of extreme love for you and for me. He used the desert as a place to seek his Father's heart through fasting and relying on God. He did battle with the devil and combated the devil's lies with the truth of the Father's Word, using Scripture as his sword. And Jesus was victorious over every temptation that could possibly tempt us.

I love what John 2:25 says about Jesus understanding the human condition: "He himself understood it well." It's not only because he's God, but also because he chose to experience every emotion, every frustration -- no matter how big or small -- that humans face.

We can have this kind of courage and hope in the desert of our lives, too. We can go into the desert of our hearts with Jesus to seek him and give him all of ourselves. To let our Father do his work in us, to let Jesus win our battles. To rid our lives of the excesses that get in the way of knowing the one true thing we need -- the Father's love. We can seek him here, knowing we will find him.

Reflecting the extreme beauty of the desert, we can yearn for Easter in every area of our lives. We can yearn for the joy of resurrection in our relationships, in our day-to-day lives, and in our hearts. It's coming.

Something I love is that we don't have to face the desert alone. We have Jesus, and we have each other to seek God with. We don't have to understand or be able to make sense out of what God is doing in us. We can trust that he is working his will in us for our good, and that his plans for us are of hope and prosperity. I'm excited for the resurrection, for the moment when the final piece of God's work in my heart for this season of my life is put into place, God's full glory is revealed, and the purpose of his work is clear to me.

Right now, though, it's desert time. We're halfway through Lent, halfway through the desert. Keep seeking God's heart, keep asking to know him. Keep asking for forgiveness, keep accepting it. Keep being the kind of love that doesn't make excuses. Jesus' resurrection is just around the corner.

Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple -- not necessarily in that order.

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