Today’s Guest Author: Rolf Lowenberg-DeBoer, Assistant to the Bishop for Lay Leadership and Equity Initiatives

Deuteronomy 32:10–12
He sustained him in a desert land, in a howling wilderness waste; he shielded him, cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings, takes them up, and bears them aloft on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him; no foreign god was with him.

Photo by Simon Harvey | @SimHxrvey on Unsplash

Have you ever been on a nature walk and knew in your heart that God was right there with you? That is Presence of God, our God of accompaniment, God with you. Christ accompanies us on the journey of life.

I have been thinking about the theology of accompaniment. God with us is what really matters—God is with us through it all and we are called to be with others and to accompany them on their journey; whatever is going on in their life. The trouble is, I don’t always feel the presence of God; I’m not always in tune with the One who is always with me.

However, I feel God’s presence strongly in the wilderness. Every time I go. Maybe it’s because I am focused on simpler things and not constantly multitasking. Perhaps it’s because my phone doesn’t work out there so I can be more present, and pay deeper attention to nature. Maybe it’s because I arrive with a complete openness and hope that God will show up and spend time with me. Maybe its because God’s Creation is just that—it’s God’s, God made it and me. So, of course I would feel completely and utterly interconnected and intertwined.

We are not separate!

I invite you to contemplate the wilderness passages of the Bible. There are so many. Times were different then, and most of the world was covered in wild places. The human footprint was still very small! I often wonder what the world looked like then.

A few centuries after the last portions of the New Testament were written the Dessert Fathers and Mothers went out into the wild places to be with God. They recognized very clearly the need to “get away” to the wild places into order to gain clarity, in order to feel the presence of God more clearly and more fully. Often their followers, or wannabe disciples (the Dessert Fathers and Mothers were Holy people after all), would follow them out to these places and they would realize once they got there that they were not alone! Even when we are alone we are not alone. God is with us. And we are freed to be fully present, here and now.

May God sustain you and shield you in all of the wilderness places in life!

Prayer: Holy God, guide us and sustain us on your path through all of the wilderness areas of our lives. Shield us, care for us, guard us and guide us. Be with us each step of the way. Amen.