by Linda Cherek
I just returned from a one-month road trip through the Southwest and California. We saw multiple deserts and were amazed at the variety of desert landscapes. Spending time in the desert allowed time for me to reflect on Jesus’ moments in the desert, walking his path, and for me to understand more deeply how the desert can call us to quiet and peace, solitude and reflection.
It is in that space of sand, wind, sun and silence we have an opportunity to encounter the God of our understanding. We all have moments, in our space of silence and quiet that in our prayer we ask for something and often what we ask for is a place for renewal, time away and quiet, healing and other needs. Richard Rohr, in his book Wondrous Encounters, Scripture for Lent, states “Jesus makes clear in the Gospel that when we ask for things from God, it first says something about God (God is trustworthy, God is listening, God cares), but it also says something about our present state and ourselves.” He also proposes this question, “ Did you know that you only ask for what you have already begun to experience? God seems to plant within us the desire to pray for what God already wants to give us…God has already begun to give it to us.” (How it is given may not be what we expect, but in the end God works all things together for good.)
What have you prayed for that God has already begun to give you? What do you pray for during Lent? Peace, grace, courage, the ability to stick to your intentions? Lent in the church year, a penitential season, allows us to look more deeply into our own challenges. The God of our understanding helps us to know that when we pray God is not answering our prayer, “our praying is already God answering within and through us.” What is it like for you to imagine that whatever you pray for, the God of your understanding places awareness within you, to pray for what God already wants to give to you. The experience of praying like this is that it is a significant moment of complete trust in God.
Allow yourself to be immersed in the desert, in your imagination, in trust this Lent. Maybe looking at the photo might help you to imagine walking your path in the desert with Jesus, and make space for moments for the ultimate in trusting God. Trust that God gives to you what God already knows you want, and recognize that it is given out of love, unconditional love from God to you. Imagine the depth of that love! It is that love for us – that Jesus died for. . . IMAGINE
The Gospel of Matthew says: “ Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)