Posted by: myroadtoemmaus | November 26, 2008

in honor of thanksgiving

During the last portion of our Small Group on Sunday evening (post ‘Thanksgiving Caroling’ at the Cataldos, much to their surprise dismay), we went around the circle as each person shared what they were truly thankful for throughout the past year.  Dave, one of the leaders of the group and tiling extraordinaire (see previous post), shared that he was thankful for the “hard parts about IHOP”.  This phrase caught my attention right away as I realized that this, too, was what I was most thankful for.  You see, after a few trips out to IHOP in college, I had come to believe that this was the spiritual oasis of all oases.  Each trip had been marked by a growing hunger for the Lord, spiritual revelation as I studied Scripture, and an increasing awareness and experience of His love.  No wonder it didn’t take much twisting of the arm until Russell and I “agreed” to move out here.  Little did I know, however, that one year later, the oasis seems like a distant memory and more regularly, I feel as if I am in the wilderness. 


Don’t get me wrong- I absolutely love it here.  I am confident that this is where we are called to be for this season.  I am so grateful for this community of people who are marked by hunger for the Lord.  But it’s still the wilderness.  And I am growing more and more convinced that this is the very wisdom of God to take us deep into this wilderness place to form and fashion us in such a way that we would die… in order for Him to live in us.  You see, it’s not the way that I had planned it.  But His ways are higher.  It’s not even what I necessarily would have chosen for myself.  But His thoughts are not like mine.  He sees the end while I struggle to even see clearly now.  He sees what this time in the wilderness is producing in my heart.  When I struggle to find Him, He rejoices in my search. 


So, in honor of Thanksgiving and in reflection of the last 15 months here at IHOP, I am deeply grateful for this wilderness.  It’s almost as if I can hear Him whispering the words in the Book of Hosea…


“I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her.  I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of achor as a door of hope;  She will sing there, as in the days of her youth….  And it shall be, in that day, says the Lord, that you will call me ‘my husband’, and no longer call me ‘my master’”.





  1. So I might be quoting you in our next newsletter…but for real, the things you’ve said are so true. This wildnerness is crazy, like I want to run from it all the time, but then I hear myself “where else can I turn?” He alone has the words of life…

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