August 04, 2015

A Living Desert

Psalm 22

You lay me in the dust of death.

—  Psalm 22:15

Sand is beautiful. Sprinkled around the shoulder of a lake, it forms an exquisite collar. Blowing winds tease beach sand into blond dunes and pale valleys. Even the loneliest desert has austere beauty; absence paints its own splendor.

The absence of God is never beautiful, though; it is death. Desperately our psalmist cries out, asking God to come and find him. In effect, the psalmist says, “Without your help I will die in this wilderness.”

God is never too far away to hear a call for help. God will come to the rescue. Our story of desertion is also one of recovery—a story meant to be punctuated by frequent hallelujahs.

Our lives can have moments of despair and abandonment. The desert can be the last place we want to travel through in any season, yet it may seem like the only place our feet will take us. Our hope rests in God’s unseen presence. God’s strength will compensate for our weakness; God’s comfort will soothe our afflicted hearts.

Our stories of the desert and the dirt are ones we don’t want to tell. We’d rather share news of our victories and daring deeds crowned with success. Yet the psalmist reminds us that our worst moments and greatest weaknesses reveal God’s strength and faithfulness best.

Lord God, you found me suffering in the desert and res-cued me. Thank you for sending your Son to the cross to save me from the desert of sin and death. Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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