My Desert Story
By Bruce Crockett of Redmond, OR, USA
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. -Matthew 4:1-2 NRSV
In 1989 I was diagnosed with cancer and initially given a 50% chance of survival. Not exactly an uplifting prognosis! My first response was shock. Adding to the shock was the urgency to start chemotherapy right away. I could not eat certain foods, and I would soon lose my hair.
My reaction to this desert experience was to have a pity party, bargain with God, and continuously ask for five additional years to see my small children grow up just a little more. Would I ever come out of this desert, these feelings of being lost, that I was experiencing?
My routine was to teach school all week, go to chemo on Friday after school, be sick from chemo Friday night and Saturday, pull myself together to attend church on Sunday, and then return to school on Monday morning.
One Saturday morning, my son Timothy came and stood by my easy chair where I was resting and slipped his little hand in mine. He stared at the floor. He was two years old and speech delayed. I asked him what he wanted, and he continued to stare. Then it came to me, “You want to pray?” He shook his head “yes.” I said, “Go ahead and pray.”
Timothy babbled a Spirit-filled prayer that redirected my thinking. He finished and continued to stare at the floor. I said, “You want me to pray?” He shook his head “yes.” I offered my prayer with the awareness that the pity party was over, and I had a responsibility for my health and my recovery.
I walked out of the desert that day and became a proactive participant in my recovery: diet (thank you, Gloria), guided imagery, tai chi, positive affirmation, and, of course, spending lots of time with Tim, Sarah, and Gloria-my recovery team.
God, may my deep hope align with your deep vision. Release in me anything that keeps me from freely following your Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply as you enter a time of silence. Become gently attentive to what may be restricting you from faithfully responding to the divine invitation in your life. Are there priorities, attachments, tasks, or motivations competing for your response? What does freedom for God look or feel like in you this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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