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Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 07 March 2007 08:14

Written by Keith Strohm

Sometimes in life we find ourselves moving forward, sometimes we find ourselves moving backward, and sometimes we don't move at all. I used to think that backwards movement was the most painful--watching the things that you cherish and have worked hard for slip away slowly, or experiencing those things being suddenly destroyed.

However, there is a desert every bit as dry, dusty, and scorching as that of the "Backwards" desert, a place of stasis where your whole life seems to be on hold. What I have discovered about myself is that this total lack of movement carries far more pain and discomfort. For me, not moving is worse than moving in the wrong direction.

The funny thing is that God is present in both deserts, where the hot wind carries sand like glass shards to strip your life of everything, flaying skin and muscle until only white bone bakes beneath the brilliant sun, laying everything open. There is honesty in this experience. It is a kind of dying--a surrendering that God calls each of us to.

I am not good at surrendering. Even as a child, I often refused to admit when I had been beaten. This fortitude and stubbornness served me well in the secular world, but spiritually it is an obstacle, a chasm as deep and as wide as any that ever separated Lazarus from Father Abraham. During the last few years, God has taught me quite a bit about the cross . . . and about surrender. The contours of this desert are familiar to me. Almost, I can feel at home here. But not quite. And so I struggle and resist. I call out to God, "Why have you forsaken me?"

Only the hiss of wind-blown sand responds.

In the midst of it all, I think about how I am not alone. Other feet have trod this desert path before me, other men and women have cried out here, other blood has watered the sands--including the Blood of the Lamb. And so if God asks me to remain here, I shall.

Unhappily so.

Imperfectly so.

I will offer my Self to the desert.



For the Lord.


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