This year has been challenging in many ways, and social isolation has only made it more difficult. In trying times, we turn to our faith and lean into our community and fellowship found there. For so many, being unable to gather in our places of worship — spaces that bring comfort, guidance, stability and peace — has been especially hard.

Throughout pages of scripture, we are introduced to characters and entire communities who are journeying a season of wilderness. The Israelites, Moses, Sarah, Abraham and Zacchaeus, to name a few. We learn from scripture that wilderness seasons can be challenging, lonely and isolating. And yet, the wilderness is also a place of newfound holiness and new life.

Since the new year, in speaking with people, I have heard a consistent theme. We have all been faced with questions of meaning, purpose, belonging and legacy. Those are the questions of wilderness.

We ask questions like, “What is my faith if I cannot gather with my faith community? How long, O Lord, will the doors remain closed?”

Or, you have asked yourself, “Is this the job I want to do? Is this where I want to live?”

You have maybe also wondered, “Is this how I want to invest my life?”

I want you to know you are not alone in those questions. As a spiritual leader, this has been true for my life as well.

Who am I if I preach into a camera lens every week? Does that make me a performer or a preacher? How do we meet the needs of spiritual fatigue, exhaustion and drought in our community right now? What does it mean to connect in a world that feels dis- connected and deeply divided? How do I vision and plan when I feel like so much is out of my control? How can our faith and identity keep us together when everything else seeks to pull us apart?

Through my wilderness season, I have come to learn and believe what our ancestors in faith have told us is true: Though these questions can be unsettling, though the wilderness feels isolating, though our questions of purpose are open-ended, and though our faith may feel dry, we are never alone. For we believe in a God who has promised that there is no place where God is not, God is big enough for it all, and God in our wilderness seasons makes a new path when we cannot see the way forward. Friends, it has been a difficult 12 months. I want you to know you are loved and that you belong. I pray as we continue to journey this wilderness season, we will recognize this good news made manifest in our lives and that we will grow in our sense of belonging to God and one another.

May you sense the many ways God hovers close to you this day in whatever corner of Preston Hollow you call home.

Love and light to you from your neighbor.

With great hope,

Matthew


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