Dec29TueDecember 29, 2020
My son, Rylan did a report for his studies on the effect of the first lockdown on small business. At that time 30% of small businesses were not able to adapt or survive. A survey was recently done with local businesses and of the remaining ones that did survive, 70% felt that were in danger of closing going through this yet again. It certainly is a difficult season for many and in my business of roofing, it already is a built in down time due to the end of our work season.
The question is how do we survive and stay sane in the midst of the chaos? The number of cases continually is on the rise despite the efforts, masks and everything in place…and oh yeah, there’s another Covid strain and it’s even more contagious! I know the vaccine is coming and there’s a lot of uncertainty there as well as to its timing, effectiveness and what are the long term implications… will I turn into the “walking dead” lol? It is certainly something we have never seen before and everyone is looking for answers and more importantly when can we get back to a more normal life?
When we go to the Scriptures we can learn a lot from the life of those who lived under similar circumstances, however they found themselves in the wilderness. The Israelites found themselves in the wilderness for over 40 years when they made their pilgrimage to the Promised Land. David found himself in the wilderness for over a decade leading up to His time as the King of the Israelites and we also find Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days leading into His public ministry.
At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness day and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him. Mark 1:12,13
I believe there are answers for us and strength to get us through this upcoming month of lockdown and I want to bring encouragement for a good “wilderness of the soul” time in His presence.
I have been reading “Leap Over A Wall” by Eugene Peterson…it just happens to be another thrift store bargain find for me and I want to share insights that have inspired me while reading this book for this time.
Here’s how you know you are in the wilderness – you don’t have any assignments, you don’t have any appointments to keep and you are not in control. I can honestly say that pretty much sums up my life right now. When we are in the wilderness we have a choice, we can choose to allow this time to simplify and deepen us or we can live aimlessly and without direction.
Survival Tip 1 Learn To Be Intentional
If you have ever watched “Survivorman,” you know that the wilderness is a place of pristine beauty and breathtaking discoveries and it is also a place of sinister threats and danger as well. WE are right now living in this tension of choosing to live in fear or live with courage through this time. In this chaos of time where each day starts looking more and more the same, we have the opportunity to be intentional or simply to drift. Drifting is easy and can easily become second nature to us. Being intentional means I take time to plan, to focus, to pursue direction. In the midst of all this uncertainty, our feelings erupt in us and cause us to question a lot of things that we did before and why we did them. I pray that we choose to be even more conscious of the Holy Spirit, more aware of His living presence in us and through us than ever before. I pray that His calm, transcendent peace will cover our lives with confident hope and wisdom for our present situation.
Survival Tip # 2 Discover The Sacred In The Wild
The wilderness is one of the greatest places of testing for our faith. The wilderness is untamed and wild. It isn’t domesticated and come with the comforts of home. It is in the place that David is hated and hunted like an animal. It is here that he can choose to curse God or choose to depend on Him like never before. It is in this place that David chooses the sacred, he chooses the path of holiness, but not in a ritual-like way with priestly clothing. It is a real earthy spirituality as Eugene described.
Holy is our best way to describe that life – the human aliveness that comes from dealing with God-Alive. We’re most human when we deal with God. Any other way of life leaves us less human, less ourselves.
It was in the wilderness of En-gedi, a rugged place near the Dead Sea known for cliffs, canyons and caves is where David truly experienced and understood the holy presence of God. It was here that David learned to discover beauty in everything and everywhere. He had the opportunity to take Saul’s life at a most vulnerable moment, a time when Saul was relieving himself. Instead, David cuts a piece of his clothing and then when Saul is on the other side of the canyon, he calls out to him, “my Lord, the king”. In 1 Samuel 24, David goes on to show Saul that he is not his enemy and furthermore sees Saul still as the Lord’s anointed. This is significant because we know through Samuel that the anointing on his life had long left him. David had an awareness of the sanctity of life that God had given him even though this very person was seeking to destroy his.
Survival Tip #3 Experience Him As Your Refuge
Do a word study on refuge in Psalms and see how many times it pops up. An Old Testament scholar, J. Gamberoni, showed how this word started as a very physical and geographical word. Refuge was literally understood as a great hiding place. However in the Psalms it lost all reference to this definition and became an exclusive reference to Yahweh, the personal, covenant keeping God who is Refuge personified. I pray that more and more that we will recognize God as our refuge in the midst of the upside down, topsy-turvy, turbulent ride that we are on now. Have you ever been through turbulence on a plane? There have literally been times where the turbulence was so bad on a flight to me that I was praying desperately to God as my refuge. However, I want to discover Him as my refuge as well in the midst of my everyday life.
Eugene described it this way,
We start with the immediate data of our lives – a messy house, a balky car, a cranky spouse, a recalcitrant child (and on our good days a burst of sunrise, an ecstatic smile, a piercing insight.) We start our being desperate in the wilderness of En-gedi, and before we know it we’re ecstatic in the wilderness of God.
The prayer of David traditionally assigned to this time period is Psalm 57. I leave this with you as your inspiration for yes, another lockdown. May you and I learn to be intentional, discover the sacred in the midst of this confusion and experience the LORD as our refuge in a new way, a way we would have never discovered before!
Psalm 57 The Message
1-3 Be good to me, God—and now!
I’ve run to you for dear life.
I’m hiding out under your wings
until the hurricane blows over.
I call out to High God,
the God who holds me together.
He sends orders from heaven and saves me,
he humiliates those who kick me around.
God delivers generous love,
he makes good on his word.
4 I find myself in a pride of lions
who are wild for a taste of human flesh;
Their teeth are lances and arrows,
their tongues are sharp daggers.
5 Soar high in the skies, O God!
Cover the whole earth with your glory!
6 They booby-trapped my path;
I thought I was dead and done for.
They dug a mantrap to catch me,
and fell in headlong themselves.
7-8 I’m ready, God, so ready,
ready from head to toe,
Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune:
“Wake up, soul!
Wake up, harp! wake up, lute!
Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!”
9-10 I’m thanking you, God, out loud in the streets,
singing your praises in town and country.
The deeper your love, the higher it goes;
every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.
11 Soar high in the skies, O God!
Cover the whole earth with your glory!