New Year’s Eve: Believe in God’s Gift, Even in the Wilderness

New Year’s Eve, Dec 31
Read Exodus 16:2-21, Deuteronomy 2:7 and Mark 1:9-13

The testimony of many people, as well as many of the stories in the Bible, indicate that a time in the wilderness quite often follows the touch or call or gift from God.

When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, they were led into the wilderness. The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness immediately after he was baptized and heard the testimony from God, “You are my Son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.”  When each of us accepts that proclamation of love and favor from God for ourselves, it is such an awesome gift that we need time to understand its ramifications.

The important thing to remember is that the wilderness experience — including our wilderness wandering — does not do away with the facts that God has delivered us from the slavery of Egypt and that God has claimed us as his own son or daughter! In fact, the wilderness experience seems to be for the purpose of teaching us to lose our attachment to everything that competes with God and to learn to be totally dependent on God.

…then you shall know that I am the Lord your God. (Exodus 16:12)

These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing. (Deuteronomy 2:7)

And the Spirit immediately drove him [Jesus] out into the wilderness…. and the angels waited on him. (Mark 1:12,13).

New Year’s Eve is often a time for evaluating the past year. As you think over the past year, look for those silent and invisible times when God has been by your side, perhaps unheard and unnoticed. Look for God’s guidance and action in your life.

If looking over the past year in this way is too difficult, you may find it more productive to consider a longer timespan, such as a five year period. Or consider a much shorter timespan, such as the time you have spent on this journey of Advent to Epiphany. In any case, the point is to learn to look for and recognize God in your life.

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About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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