We’re having a tiny drought here in Maine – nothing like the raging, fire-breathing variety that has been defoliating the West Coast. Even so, in these end-of-summer days, my garden and I are feeling this word:
As I haul plastic jugs of water that will rescue the geranium, restore the sunflowers, and rejuvenate the nasturtiums, my mind gnaws on the word, and argues it away from my heart.
Maybe it’s because I remember President Ford wearing a sweater on t.v. and telling us to turn down our thermostats to save oil;
Perhaps it was the empty spaces in my growing-up refrigerator that stood in stark contrast with the steady supply of vodka bottles in the trunk of the ’74 Plymouth;
God, help me, it may be my own present-day, reprobate habit of comparing myself to the gifted, the scintillating, and the accomplished that brings on this spirit of scarcity that sucks dry my confidence and leaves my faith parched and brittle.
Lack – the word hangs like a caption over my wilting tomato plants, but I will not give it entry to my soul, for I will fight the lie with this truth:
. . . if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail. (Isaiah 58:10-11)
Hear the Word of the Lord, O my soul!
When the earth is scorched and you are stuck in drought conditions from the continual pouring out; when memories of days with no direction and not a spring in sight crowd out today’s reality of abundant provision and blessing from God — this is the time to war against soul-drought.
The message of that Old Testament prophet to me in my days of dryness is this:
Keep pouring yourself into your family.
Be available for God’s next assignment.
Even on this path through the desert, you are not alone. Beside you is a Companion Whose voice you may not hear and Whose footprint you may not see, but Whose presence is a forecast of rain on your soul’s cracked earth.
Everyone’s testimony includes road maps of the desolate places in their itinerary, records of the journey through days when security and abundance seemed to be a thousand miles away as we slogged through debt, or disappointment, or confusion. Looking back now on my desert days, I see in retrospect the truth of these words from God to His people – in a spiritual drought of their own making:
I cared for you in the wilderness, in a land of burning heat, as if you were in pasture. Hosea 13:5-6
I have lived this truth of lush grass and still waters that demonstrate the faithfulness of God in my parched places. Therefore, even with “the land of burning heat” in my rear-view mirror, even with the knowledge that days of drought may come again, I will spread out my roots into the soil of His Word, not in any special “work,” or location, but in the Lord Himself. There lies the water of life, the only reservoir that will slake my deepest thirst.
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