Some years ago my husband and I decided to use our vacation time creatively to kill two birds with one stone. We own a timeshare based in Las Vegas that often runs promotions to get you to come and see how the city is attempting to change its face from just being a gambling town to being a place for everyone in the family to enjoy. The primary goal of course was to get you to buy more property. It was such a great deal and airfare to Vegas was relatively inexpensive, so we decided to take advantage of the deal, and use it as an opportunity to visit our friends in Southern California. Our friends had been telling us for years that Vegas was only a three hour drive from their home which seemed very doable; like driving to Virginia or other places on the East Coast. Upon our arrival into Vegas, we excitedly picked up our compact car and proceeded with great anticipation. We were enjoying our time together and looking forward to the reward of reengaging with our long distance friends. The first hour was fun. We laughed and talked about the sights: The bright lights and gaudy hotels and casinos in the desert. However, as time continued on, the mood began to change. The landscape started to change dramatically. The sights began to conform to the natural habitat of the desert. All of a sudden, there were no more glitzy hotels, no more casinos and no more humans at all. There was just an arid landscape complete with the tumbleweeds that I’d seen so often in the westerns that I loved on TV—The tumbleweeds I’d seen in ghost towns. My mind began to race. I thought about all of the Mob movies that had depicted the desert as a convenient place to “dispose” of people who were “problematic”. As we traveled down the road, I realized there was no highway divider, or shoulder rails to stop cars from going off the side of the mountain. Only big tractor-trailers racing up and down the mountainous road. What if one of them decided that we had cut in front of them in the way they didn’t like. Or what if they just didn’t like the way we looked! Paranoia began to overwhelm me in a way that is not characteristic with my personality. I was horrified by the fact that we literally could drive a couple hours between points of civilization. No city lights, no people, not even an abundance of cars. Until that time I was not aware of how much I depended on a certain type of environment to make me feel safe. After all, what would we do if there was some type of emergency? Our cell phones would go in and out. There were not many cell towers in the mountains. What would we do if we simply had to go to the bathroom? I wasn’t getting out of the car in this “No Man’s Land”. I was holding my breath and my bladder, anxiously awaiting the next town. Very, very small towns with people who didn’t look or talk like me. About halfway through our journey, I heard the Lord speak to me. “I am El Roi, the God who sees”. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Lo, I will be with you, even til’ the end of the earth. My flesh wanted to say, “Okay, Lord, but will you be with me til’ the end of this desert place?” The desert had become a god to me. It became larger than life. Larger than my big hulking husband, who I knew loved me and would always protect me. It became larger than my normal rational thinking mind. It became larger than Jehovah God: The God who is more than enough. The desert place of the unknown can be an ongoing struggle for us as believers, but I think women can be particularly vulnerable to this because of our great need for safety and security. We like certain systems and norms to be in place to fuel our so-called faith. But real faith is that which is written in God’s word: “Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1) When there was NOTHING to see in the desert, I realized how dependent I was on my ability to see versus God’s ability to see. Today, as you struggle with the unknown, trust that God has perfect vision and provision concerning you. Never forget that you are the apple of His eye. “Keep me as the apple of your eye; Hide me in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 17:8 NIV) Rejoice in the fact that you are safe in the father’s arms.
Christine James is a wife, mother and pastor at CareView Community Church. This is her first blog. She is glad you came