The phrase "grace in the wilderness" jumped out at me, today, from my Old Testament lectionary reading (Jeremiah 31: 1-9). Jeremiah 31st chapter is about The Joyful Return of the Exiles.
Thus says the Lord: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you.
It is in the depths of my sin and desolation that I found God; grace (divine and human) in the wilderness is something to which I can totally relate.
Wilderness is a metaphor used by the prophets of Israel for the time of exile. For me, wilderness is a place to which I don't want to go; I don't even like to watch the Survivor reality game show! I often find wilderness is an apt metaphor for my day-to-day life many times. A clear path seems impossible to find because people and relationships are so messy. Then, there's all the realities of living in the world with "elemental spirits" as the Apostle Paul called them. I struggle against cultural and worldly odds to live, reborn, new, in Christ, focused on pleasing God. Yet, it was in the wilderness, Israel experienced God's grace, in no small measure. As do I. What does grace in the wilderness mean to you, today? And, head over to my new Tumblr site to see a picture of my "grace in the wilderness" for today if you need a bit of inspiration :).