It’s been dry around here lately. Not literally, In fact, here in the great northwest it’s been one of the wettest springs on record. No. The rain has been pouring, but my soul has been deserty.
I’ve lacked motivation and inspiration on all fronts. Meals have come from the freezer, scrapbook supplies have cluttered up the corner of my bedroom for weeks, laundry has piled up, I have scoured the Internet until all hours trying to find something--anything to post here. Here, which is a place where you and I should be finding refreshment, not barren ground. I’ve done my chores, had company, put on my brave face, all the while wondering what is wrong with me?
Much guilt has come along with me into this desert place. I didn’t know how I got here, but it wasn’t a good place for me or my family. I prayed about it. Okay, I thought about praying about it, but I was pretty reluctant to hear the answer, so I kept too busy to hear the answer.
God likes to answer questions though. Particularly if you really need to hear the answer. And he has ways of making himself heard. Even if those ways are the blunt end of a 2x4. He’ll get your attention. And he got mine.
With a borrowed blog post.
The desert is a pretty major part of the middle eastern landscape, so it's imagery appears often in the Bible. Often enough that growing up in Sunday school, I thought everything was desert over there. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the land flowing with milk and honey because the sand and grit of the desert figures in so prominently.
Did you know it looks like this over there? That's the Jordan River. Not exactly the picture of desolation.
God sends people into the desert to challenge and refine them: Abraham on the way to Cannan, the children of Israel after slavery in Egypt, and the prophet Elija. Even Jesus Christ spent time in the desert at the leading of the Spirit.
I’ve studied these things. I’ve read about them. I’ve marveled at the way God works through desert times.
But none of that applied to my situation. I knew, deep down inside, that my parched persona was not a result of God sending me to the desert.
It was when I read the following paragraph in the post I borrowed from Nancy Bentz that the 2x4 hit:
God is a not a God of disorder or confusion, but of peace. Obviously, the swirling dust and commotion that has everything in a tizzy is not originating with Him. That leaves three options: it’s from others without, including the enemy; it’s from within; or both... Sometimes, “I’ve seen the enemy and the enemy is me,” has more validity than we care to admit.
I’m here because of me.
I wandered out here because I slept in instead of keeping my commitment to spend time with my Heavenly Father first thing in the morning. I’m here because my pride kept things around the house running smoothly--for a while. I’m here because I refused to listen. I’m here because I selfishly took when I should have been giving.
It’s barren here because I acted in my own interest and the consequence is separation from God.
The problem with growing in your relationship with God is that it becomes obvious very quickly and dramatically when its being neglected. I still read (skimmed) my Bible. I still (thought about) praying. But my heart was not there. My mind was elsewhere.
Once that 2x4 hit, and I recovered from the blow, I didn’t wait around for God to pluck me out of the desert. I RAN to him. As literally as I could, I confessed, I repented, and I got up at 5am the next morning. We communed. He forgave. He restored.
And then 5:30am came, along with my 4 year old wanting to sleep with me. He came with pointy elbows and fidgety feet and a restless head. He came twitching and mumbling and fighting for more than his share of the bed.
“I thought we were getting together this morning,” I felt God saying. “I guess you could stay in bed though. If that’s what you really want.” Knee to my spleen.
So I got up. And read Romans 7. And repented again. And he forgave. Again. And he restored. Again.
And I have no words to express how thankful I am for His grace upon grace upon grace.