My wife and I have an evening ritual of praying together using J. Philip Newell's Celtic Journey as a guide. With each day there is a passage of scripture, retold as a narrative and then there is time for reflection and prayer. Tonight was the story of Moses and the Israelites wandering in the desert, wondering where they will find their next meal. In spite of their complaints and worries, God provides abundantly. My wife and I connect deeply with this story. The past four years have been long and trying as we have struggled to balance the work of seminary with time for each other, as well as dealing with the financial pressures of living below the poverty level while accruing significant debt to pay for school. When we left our home in Minnesota four years ago, we were ready for something new. Many times throughout this journey, however, we have wondered if we went about it the right way. Would it have been better if we'd played it safe and stayed where we were. Michelle could have kept her job and her paycheck and I could have at least worked part-time in my old job. It would have at least been more stable than it has been leaving all that we knew behind, right?
What we forget on our worst days of struggle is the reality that God has been with us, providing for us and caring for us all along the way. Even in the midst of our financial struggles we have, at times had enough abundance that we could share generously. We have never been hungry, we have never not had a place to live…we have been well taken care of. So as we read this narrative tonight we were reminded again of the journey. We were reminded of our struggles and doubts and God's provision in the midst of it all. The prayer following the scripture said this:
We stumble on the journey, O God. We lose heart along the way. We forget your promises and blame one another. Refresh us with the springs of your Spirit in our soul and open our senses to your guiding presence that we may be part of the world's healing this day, that we may be part of the world's healing.
God has provided and God provides that we may participate in the healing of the world. May we have the courage to do so!