Through the wilderness and into Christmas, this morning’s devotion comes from Nate M.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold your God will come with vengeance
with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

I think that French hitman was onto something!

One of my favorite scenes in Luc Besson’s 1994 film Leon, aka The Professional, is when a young (her first role) Natalie Portman, after witnessing a tragedy, asks Jean Reno, “Is life always this hard, or is it just when you’re a kid?” He responds in a thick accent, “Always like this.” It’s very touching, beautifully acted, and right on the money.

You ever feel like God just isn’t up there? Or if he is, he’s not listening? I’ve been in the wilderness for over three years now. No end in sight. Puzzled, frazzled, wounded, and spent. Lost faith and found it over and over and over (and over).

What’s the wilderness?  Why do we have to experience it? More importantly, how can we avoid it? We always need someone or something to either stridently blame (the Super 8 space alien that lives down that dark hole) or shallowly believe in (take your pick).

The desperate need to make sense of, or give order to, a world that resists both at every turn is hardwired into us. Because if there’s order, there’s potential for control: diets, books, steps, denominations, political parties, etc. And if there’s control, our ego tells us everything’s gonna be okay- because we collectively say so. Failure? Fear? Insomnia? Depression?  That’s the other guy’s problem.

As I see it, the only, and I mean only, answer is death and resurrection. I have little use for action/consequence. Thankfully, mercifully, that’s been decided for us. Like the American saint Johnny Cash once sang: “the old account was settled long ago.”

Is it possible that it’s less important what I believe in and far more important that something believes in me? Sometimes, that’s all I can grasp hold of.