The desert is the home of despair. And despair, now, is everywhere. Let us not think that our interior solitude consists in the acceptance of defeat. We cannot escape anything by consenting tacitly to be defeated. Despair is an abyss without bottom. Do not think to close it by consenting to it and trying to forget you have consented. 8

When I resist the desert it becomes “the home of despair.” When I attempt to control the desert or fix the desert I do violence to the desert and to myself. I am plunged into despair.

I must stop trying to correct the desert as if something were wrong out here in this empty wilderness place. But, at the same time, in my acceptance of the desert, I am not consenting to the violence that is found in those places where human schemes have attempted to conquer the desert or have used the desert for human plans.

The despair that is defeat “is an abyss without bottom.” This “defeat” is not the surrender that encounters God in the desert. The “defeat” that brings despair lies at the end of the road called resignation.

Surrender is not resignation. Resignation is giving up in the face of powers that are destructive and anti-life. When I resign, I give up holding my heart open to the power of Life. I lose touch with my abiding nature as a creature created in the image of God who is therefore empowered by the force of that Love in which I was created.

True surrender is never defeat. I practice true surrender only when I am giving up my will to the will-for-life that is the presence and power of God who is always at work bringing life, strength, and peace.

Lent calls me, not to resignation and defeat, but to surrender and life.

How do I see in my own life the difference between resignation that leads to death and surrender that brings life?

What might cause me to choose resignation rather surrender?