Posted by: Ed | December 3, 2008

DESERT DAYS – Solitude & Prayer

I’m just back from a couple of days of Solitude & Quiet at the Desert house that Butch & Ann Whitely so generously make available to me pretty much as much as I want it.


The Lord seemed to give me a theme once I got there: “Back to Bethel” as in when Jacob said to his crew, “we’re going back to Bethel, the place where I met God, so let’s make a sharp right turn toward the Lord. (My paraphrase – you can read about it in Genesis 35). Of course my Bible reading plan had me in Hosea & Revelation 2 (talk about synchronicity!)

{Side note – if you don’t have some kind of regular Bible reading plan UB missing out!}

On another note…

One of the things I tend to do when I’m doing my desert solitude days is to go over some of my old Journals. For me it is easy to lose sight of some of the larger movements of God in my life as well as some of the sin in my life that I’ve tolerated for way too long without looking back & reviewing.

I ran into a cool entry from a day in May that I thought might be worth sharing – here is an edited version (in case there are any kids reading this ☺)

Friday, May 9, 2008
This morning I’m looking at myself & feeling disgusted, discouraged, disappointed that I’m not further along. Then as a regular part of my Bible reading plan I read Psalm 130.
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, her my voice!
Let Your ear be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning
The watchmen for the morning
O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is hesed {lovingkindness / mercy/ covenant love}
And with Him is abundant redemption
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

I love how I “happened” {somehow written air quotes seem appropriate here} to read this. Here’s what I think is keeping me from despair today:
“If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O adonai, who could stand?” Obvious answer: nobody. Nadie!
God, I felt like you were saying, “I don’t play! {Hear a voice like Homie the Clown from “In Living Color” at this point – click here for my favorite Homie sketch} I don’t participate in your score keeping. If you are going to authentically relate to Me, it won’t be on the basis of you doing well on the scoreboard. You can only stand in grace, in the acceptance I have that is NOT based on your merit. It’s not like this changes when you have come to Christ.” I wonder if reading The Shack opened me up to this in a fresh way.
Thanks for your graciousness in leading me to this. Thanks for not marking iniquities. Thanks that there is forgiveness, hesed & abundant redemption with You (things surrounded by unpleasantness are seldom surrounded by people). Bless You. Bless YOU. BLESS YOU!!!



  1. Ed,
    Thanks for the Psalm. Its exactly what I needed, both personally as an example on my site, I just “happened” across this.

    dave Roland, the bibleDBguy

  2. […] personal experience of users and verses” is where we begin to record what individuals have taken away from a verse. “This verse helped me with my marriage”…”This verse helped me with a work […]

  3. I haven’t logged in and read for awhile and found it interesting that you quoted this verse. I “happened” to come across this verse in my reading this morning and felt called to start memorizing it and studying it. This is my confirmation. Thanks Ed.

  4. OK sort of embarrassed to be the only one commenting on In Living Color… I LOVED that show! Thanks for the Homey sketch oh my gosh so funny.
    LOVED the Psalm I just “happened” upon it here so for that I am grateful, needed it.
    Lastly, The Shack, amazing I want to go there, balled my eyes out when I finished it. I think every Christ follower should read it. Thanks for your rawness, you lead by example.

  5. Ed, I just preached tonight on Romans 8:1-13 and I’m sitting at home wondering if I really believe what I just preached to a mass of college students.

    Then I read this post, which gave me a more soulish connection with the things I just talked about.

    I join you in blessing God for grace. Arise my soul arise!

  6. Your “Emanuel” sermon Friday night reminded me of Anne Rice’s take on Joseph & Mary in her recent novel, Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt —-
    We are reminded that Joseph, Mary and Jesus stayed in Bethlehem for at least two, maybe three years before the Wise Men came and “caused” Herod to launch his edict against babies in Bethlehem, and part of the reason for staying in Bethlehem could have been to avoid unnecessary embarassment in Nazareth, particularly for Mary, regarding her getting pregnant without being married first. Anne goes further to speculate that Mary was reluctant to return to Nazareth from Egypt (after Herod’s death), even 7 years after leaving it, for mostly the same reason.
    Also, regarding Joseph’s righteousness (which was both sensitive and non-judgmental), Anne Rice supposes (in concert with tradition and apochcryphal writings) that Joseph was quite a bit older than Mary, having lost his first wife who had given birth to James the (older) brother of Jesus — thus, having wisdom that came with age and maturity as well as from angelic visitations and his innate goodness.

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