Hope Oasis: Tips for Spiritual Journey

Hope Oasis: Tips for Spiritual Journey July 21, 2023

Hope Oasis
Hope Oasis Image by Amr from Pixabay

The water that quenches a dry and thirsty soul as they journey through the wilderness is hope. Hope is an oasis in what can be an arid and dusty land. This likely seems counterintuitive to those who are wandering. After all, the wilderness is often rock bottom and the place where you can feel the most abandoned. These are the places where hope normally goes to be lost. But when you follow God in your journey, you quickly learn that hope depends not on your strength, ability, intellect, or resources.

Tending Sheep

Before David was king, he was a shepherd. Imagine, as a child, knowing your royal future proclaimed by a prophet of God. But you still have the dirty job of caring for the sheep and sleeping out under the stars in the wilderness. David honed his heart during those wilderness nights. He learned how to trust in the name of the Lord as he fought off bears, lions, and wolves attacking the flock. Spending time as a shepherd, David learned the value of waiting on the Lord and placing trust in God. He had been told he would one day be king but found contentment in waiting on God.

When David shows up at the battle lines and hears Goliath taunting his fellow countrymen, he can’t believe someone hasn’t put the giant in his place. When David does battle Goliath, he makes it clear he does not go in his strength but only in the power of the Lord. Hope is bolstered by trust gained in what God has done and what He has promised to do. When that promise is so far beyond our understanding, in this case, the promise that David would be king one day, there is no other response than to wait on the Lord patiently.

Hope Oasis

You can’t do it (whatever it is that you have been trying to do.) But that is okay. Your role is to be faithful as you trust the hope only God provides. But being faithful doesn’t mean being passive and idle. You are on the journey; you keep putting one foot in front of the other, sure that God is taking you to your destination. The longer you journey, the more you become aware of those things which constrain and weigh you down. When we walk through difficult times and experience suffering, we can focus on what truly matters. We often have ideas of what we want or expect to obtain certain wealth and happiness. But like walking through a desert without shade, the light burns away the wants and misplaced expectations. God refines our hearts through the journey in the wilderness.

Jesus looked His disciples in the eye and told them they would experience trouble in this world. Those words were true for them and continue to be true for followers of Jesus today. Despite some contemporary claims that Jesus predominantly wants to bless you with happiness and wealth, His true promise was that he would be with you through every triumph and struggle. Jesus remains even if every other soul abandons you. You can trust that even amid tragedy and the struggles in the aftermath of loss, Jesus is with you. Not only that, but Jesus is at work within the circumstances of your life with a plan to bring you peace, beauty, and joy. This world will bring you pain and suffering, but Jesus has overcome this world, and this world is not our home.

Rhythms of Rest

There is good news for those at the end of their rope, whether mentally, emotionally, or physically. Jesus offers rest. When Elijah was at his wit’s end, God told him to rest. The rest was to restore his strength and prepare him for the next steps in his journey. When Jesus saw how hard the religious authorities were working and forcing those around them to work, he proclaimed how different his way was. Don’t get it wrong; there is still plenty to do on this spiritual journey of following Jesus. But the difference is that when you follow Jesus, your motivation for what you do changes.

Who do you love?

For those who can be task-oriented, not having a straightforward way to earn God’s love and blessing can be challenging. The truth is you can’t do anything to make God love you. Or love you more. God loved you at your worst before you even thought about following Him. Jesus simplified what it means to follow Him into two commandments. No longer would people feel compelled to compete in a competition of who could best follow the rules. Instead, Jesus asked His followers to love God with all their hearts, mind, strength, and soul. And the second thing he asked was that His followers would love their neighbor. Jesus changed the math to be not about how much you do but why you do what you do.

Holiness Received

Before Jesus, religious people often treated holiness as a predominantly external process. If you did all the right rituals and didn’t do the obvious sins, you could have a pristine external holiness. But all that focus on the exterior (looking good on the outside) led to a lack of internal care. That is why Jesus called the religious leaders white-washed tombs. They looked great on the outside, but on the inside, they were dead and full of sin. Jesus came to transform from the inside out. When we receive Jesus, we are covered by His death and receive the holiness He delivers through the resurrection. It is no longer about frantically and even maniacally trying to look and do good for the external.

Instead, we are called to respond to Jesus’ invitation to walk in the Spirit. We should no longer be compelled to do things to obtain external holiness. We are being transformed from the inside out so that as we seek to understand and follow Jesus, the very desires of our hearts and the most profound thoughts in our minds are transformed. Our inner transformation will be reflected in our external holiness, and it won’t be a product of following all the checklists of rules. No, we rest in the holiness that Jesus gives us as a gift, which we instantly receive and continue to walk in and towards.

Find Rest

Find rest in the grace of Jesus. You can trust and place your hope that He who began a good work in you will complete it. Come to the hope oasis amid the dry and dust wandering of the wilderness. Our strength will be renewed, and we will be challenged to remember that our calling is to love God with all we have and then love others as much as we love ourselves. Throw off the weight of sin and those things which entangle you and run the race with endurance. You can be sure of your hope in Jesus for this life and the next.

Find more in the Tips for a Spiritual Journey on The Unbroken Ground Patheos page.
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