fear not the Desert.

Do you ever feel like God is changing everything in your life? Like He is slowly (or sometimes quickly) pulling you away from everything you’ve ever known? Doesn’t it seem at least a little terrifying?

That’s totally where I’m at. I recently quit my job for a myriad of reasons, but chief among them was that I knew I wasn’t called to be there anymore. I moved across town and back in with my folks. The people I hang out with, the people I see on a regular basis are rapidly changing and I find myself often hungering for fellowship and sisterhood.

The other day I was driving home from daily Mass and I just felt like God is pulling me into the desert…again. He does this a lot with me, He did it a few times in high school, again when I went to college, a few times during college and even more since I’ve graduated. Ever since the first time I really felt Him pulling me, calling me to the desert (whether I liked it or not) this verse has stuck with me: “So I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart” (Hosea 2:16, NAB). That verse has, for many years, been my favorite verse in all of Scripture. Though I have other verses that I love, that one best describes my whole relationship with God. He calls me, He allures me into the desert. What a great word, allures. It means “to attract or tempt by something flattering or desirable.” Or, “to fascinate; charm.” When I think of the desert, I think of some barren and desolate land that is hot and basically all around miserable.

That’s certainly not some place that I am attracted to by something desirable.

…Except God. I’ve found that though God is everywhere, He lives in the desert. He is the MOST desirable “something” in the desert, how could I not be attracted, allured to that, to Him? That verse from Hosea goes on to say that it is in the desert that God will speak to her heart, to our hearts. When everything is stripped away, the Lord speaks even clearer to her heart. Early in the Church’s history there were men known as the Desert Fathers. They went out into the desert, forsaking all of their worldly possessions, the noise and busyness of the cities in hopes of seeking God and finding Him in the nothingness of the desert. Do you know what they found? God. Purity of Heart. Read just about anything by St. John Cassian and I’m pretty sure you’ll want to go to the desert to find whatever it is that he found. (I highly recommend “Conferences”).

I think sometimes He allures me to the desert because I need desolation. I need nothingness. I need to rid myself, my life of everything so that He can start rebuilding me, so that He can put me on a new path which, no doubt, will lead to His Heavenly throne. Can you fight this call to join Him in the desert? Sure you can, (God knows I’ve tried to fight it on many occasions) He gave us free will after all. But really, how long can you fight God?

So, let us, instead of fearing the desolation and nothingness of the desert, rejoice when God calls us out of our normal way of life . Let us not fear the desert, but let us joyfully go to meet Him there always. Let us clear our hearts of the noise and busyness of the world so that God make speak tenderly to our hearts. AMEN.

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