The desert is where battle with attachment takes place. The saga of the desert tells of a journey out of slavery, through the desert, toward the garden that is home.
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another #shorts post.
Today’s tidbit comes from the book Addiction and Grace by Gerald May. I’ve mentioned this book before and quoted from it in my #shorts series. It’s an excellent book about the Spiritual side of addiction, with some very insightful ideas about the Spiritual significance of all aspects of addiction. I do plan to write a full review of the book for The Christian Book Corner when I get a chance. But for at least this month and probably into next month as well, I’m doing these #shorts posts.
Today’s insight from the book compares the journey of the Israelites through the desert to the process of defeating an addiction.
The Desert Journey and its Spiritual Meaning
I’m going to let Gerald May speak for himself through this quote. All I’m going to say first is that it’s a very smart metaphor, this comparison between the desert journey and the battle with addiction. The battle with addiction is long, painful, lonely, exhausting, depressing, and sometimes deadly. All these words also applied to Israel as they followed God through the desert for 40 years. This desert journey is one where it often seems like there is no Hope, and death in the desert is guaranteed.
But let’s never forget that on the other side of that desert journey is the Promised Land God has for us. In this case, freedom from addiction!!
But I said I would let May speak for himself, so let me get out of the way. Think this over:
The most powerful scriptural metaphor for our journey is the desert sojourn of the Hebrews. God led the people of Israel out of slavery toward the promised land, but their journey took them through great deprivations. In the desert they expressed all the characteristics of addiction and of the addicted personality to a degree that was as agonizing for God and as frustrating for Moses as it was for themselves. They experienced the stress and fear of withdrawal symptoms, longing for the old days of slavery. They hoarded more of their manna than they needed, and it rotted. They deceived themselves with idolatry and excuses. They made resolutions to obey God’s commandments, only to apostasize when left to themselves. Their attention was so kidnapped that they become lost in idol worship while surrounded by enemies. They acted in self-centered, narcissistic, manipulative ways, with self-images so eroded that at times they wished they had died in slavery. Yet through it all, God guided the people of Israel, protected them, suffered over them, commanded them, and raged at them, continually inviting and empowering them to choose to trust and to love.
The desert is where battle with attachment takes place. The saga of the desert tells of a journey out of slavery, through the desert, toward the garden that is home.Gerald May, Addiction and Grace, Pages 133-134
I had never thought of the battle with addiction this way before reading this book. But it makes complete sense!!
Addiction is slavery of course. Everyone who’s ever battled an addiction understands that. God is the only one who can lead us out of slavery—if we follow and stay Faithful to Him. And those aren’t the only actions we need to take, there’s more that we need to do to be free. But that’s a story for another time.
For today, for anyone who struggling with an addiction, remember the story of the desert. Things are painful in the desert, and the journey is long, depressing, and exhausting. The journey through the desert pushes us all the way to our very utmost limits. But God is with us all the way; God is always there, suffering through everything with us. And at the end of all this suffering is freedom, if we want to claim it and we want to stay Faithful to God.
So if you, like me, are in a desert today battling this or that addiction, take Faith and take heart. The journey to freedom is a long one, and we must travel through a dangerous desert to get there. But when we do arrive in our Promised Land, together with God, the pain will be well worth it. We will have vindication, and finally at long last, freedom and rest. Hallelujah!!
That’s it for #shorts #5. Stay tuned for more #shorts all this month.
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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