Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Realizing where we are

Photo credit:  S. Grant Matthews
In a certain Sunday school (not mine), a woman told a story that she relates to the idea of wilderness.  She was riding her horse through the woods.  She lost control of the horse, and he started running.  When she finally got him stopped, and figured out where she was, she realized she didn't know where she was.  She prayed that God would help her to find her way home.  That is wilderness, she said.

I was struck by the idea that she didn't realize she was lost until she realized she was lost.  It's circular reasoning. Even so, it is profound.  If spiritual wilderness can be equated with separation from God, then we may not know we are lost until we slow down and realize we don't know where we are.   It takes a certain amount of self-awareness.

We can't ask God to find us in the wilderness until we realize we are there.  We don't miss God until we realize we've moved away from God.  We can't take any steps to return to God until we admit we need to do so.

I think that might be one of the purposes of spiritual disciplines.  They hep us to recognize that we don't know where we are.  And to ask for God's help.

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