In The Desert Land

The sun beams rose over the windmills with a fresh intensity this morning. My windows are half-raised beckoning the soft wind to enter the room and caress my face.

I threw back the covers as I felt the pang of hunger threaten to take over. Downstairs, I let my eggs sizzle in the pan, the toast hum in the toaster, and the Keruig spit out its liquid gold into a fancy mug.

My study Bible and journal lay to the side begging for my touch.

My journey in Ohio seemed like it was ages ago. My departure from Ohio appeared so far in the past.

I peered at my Bible and journal, resting on the oak table, ready to try again to enter into my quiet time with the Lord. This isn’t the first time that I have struggled since returning home.

One of my greatest expectations is to hear from the Lord. Oft times throughout these last few months, I’ve wondered if he has been listening. I sat down at the table and opened my Bible hoping, praying that the Lord would engage my heart. Desperately pleading with the Lord that this time..this time would be different. I wanted to hear him.

I know I can’t do this on my own. 

I approach His Word thinking it will be easy to conjure up affections that are contrary to my actual nature. I love because he first loved me. I can’t love him on my own. As I journey toward understanding more about God and knowing God intimately as he has revealed himself through his creation and word, I’ve seen the hardness of my soul.

My body recoils against His truth.

Sin caused this rebellion I feel. My embittered soul enraptured in its selfish desire despises the very prospect of God’s grace, love, holiness, correction, and justice seeking to transform my broken pieces.

I’ve been wandering in the desert. My soul has been wounded and cracked by the hot wind of inadequacy. I would turn the pages of my Bible, crying out for water to balm the searing pain, with no relief. Minutes turned into days, days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months as I battled to know that every word of the Lord proves true.  I would sit with unfocused eyes and an out of tune heart wondering when I would feel the presence of the Lord again.

Today

Today as I read Psalm 1, supplemented with encouraging words from John Owen, I saw it.

The Blessed Man

The blessed man is like a tree planted by the streams of water. My heart questioned the picture for the first time. It’s a tree. A tree takes time to grow from its first stage as a seed to the sapling. From the sapling to its towering grandeur. Roots must form and latch onto soil that will give a solid base. The roots plunge into the depths intentionally searching for living water.

John Owen reflects on this analogy well, “The one who meditates on the Word is like a tree. Trees don’t grow overnight. Meditation is a sustained process like a tree growing its roots down toward the water source. The effects are cumulative. You must stick with it. We must meditate “day and night” — regularly, steadily.”

Droughts, floods, winds, and storms are all seasons that the tree weathers. 

In all sorts of weather, I must meditate day and night on the words that prove true. A man I deeply respect gave me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard.

He said, “The Bible has everything you will EVER need. Sometimes it may require more digging and searching, but it has everything you need.”

Months of searching. Months of digging. It came. Psalm 1:1-3 were the words that proved true. They were the words I needed.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord,and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Today. Today my drought ended.

My lungs have taken its gulp of air after months of being suffocated for so long by a satisfied knowledge of God, by the choking hands of passivity. I am to blame. But oh the grace found in His words that prove true!

In the seasons, rain or shine, desert land or land flowing with milk and honey, let your roots grow down to the water source. Continue to cry out. Stick with it.

I never have to doubt. I never have to fear. The one true God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:5)  The promise is this:

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Rest in it.