Monday, May 23, 2016

The Right Kind of Changes

There's no doubt the wilderness changes you, and caregiving can be it's own special kind of wilderness experience. Social interactions change, getting out changes, friendship statuses change, work can be different; just about every aspect of life can be different after we become a caregiver. For some, the changes may be less dramatic, but for others they are enormous. In my particular situation virtually everything changed. How we deal with these changes is a good indicator of our character.

Actually, how we deal with the wilderness reveals unique aspects of our character. The wilderness changes you. I was reading in Hebrews over the weekend and spent quite a bit of time in chapter 4, but this morning I backed up a bit because I wanted to see why the writer started talking about entering into God's rest.

Just before the author's discourse on God's rest he was talking about the children of Israel and how they failed to enter God's rest. Their choices in the wilderness were what separated them from His rest. My loose interpretation is: these same people who loaded up their stuff, spoiled the Egyptians and followed Moses out of slavery to freedom - lost it in the wilderness. They stopped believing God's promise, disobeyed Him and missed the opportunity to enter His rest as a result.

The wilderness isn't an easy place to be. And if you want to look at it one way - Moses was the caregiver for a million rebellious people. How'd you like to tote that around for awhile? They were willing to go with him when they packed up and left the cruelty of Egypt. What were they expecting? Of course they ran smack dab into the Red Sea - God stepped in. And then they ran out of fresh water - God stepped in. And even though they saw God's hand over and over again - they chose to rebel and complain. They were so hardened they missed the opportunity of enjoying His rest. The wilderness changes you.

As we walk through the wilderness of life - we will make choices; we will make changes. One of the first cries of my heart when my son became injured was that I would draw closer to God, not pull away and not become bitter. My desire has been to let life's crucible squeeze out a sweet fragrance and that my life would be lived in a state of worship.

I have not always accomplished this. I have fought, and fit, and spit and cussed many times. I've argued, faltered, given up and been angry more times than I can mention. But in the end - I cling to Him rather than fighting against Him. The wilderness experience forces us to make deep and lasting decisions about our faith and our relationship with God.

Today, I will seek to enter His rest. I'll reflect on the ways the wilderness has changed me - the good and the bad. I'll rejoice in the good and give Him the bad and ask Him for grace. My thoughts will be on His ever-abiding presence and how He hasn't left me in the dry wilderness even when I became a hot mess. I'll embrace His grace today and be thankful for the changes He's brought about in my life, even in the wilderness. Will you join me?

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