If the increasing frequency of the rains (and the fact that there has been any at all!) is evidence, dry season is almost over in Jos, and my hope is that the same is true of the spiritual dryness I’ve felt lately. For quite some time (much longer than I would like), I’ve just felt kind of spiritually, well, eh. I can’t pinpoint any particular reason (though my lack of consistency in my time with God is a definite contributor – it’s a vicious cycle, really), but the death of my uncle and then our lifetime friend Jamie definitely hasn’t helped, and neither has some recent heart-wrenching news about a very dear family friend who has been my spiritual mentor and like a 2nd mom to me. I wish I knew what to do to, I don’t know, stir my soul again. (Of course, maybe that’s part of my problem, thinking there’s something to be done. Maybe I just need to be, to bask in God’s presence, to sit at the feet of Jesus….)
During dry season here, there are months and months of no rain. Wind blows across from the Sahara, bringing with it fine dust that covers everything (including the sun sometimes, but mostly my coffee table, computer and car dashboard. No matter how frequently we dust, my friends and I concluded that our houses amass as much dust in a day here as they do in about six months at home.). Much of the ground has cracks forming in the dirt, the grass is brown and the plants are withered; the land seems to cry out for refreshment as loudly as Judah does during this time.
And yet in spite of this, I’ve been amazed that there are some plants that seem to thrive during this season. Just outside our bedroom window stands a beautiful tree with bright purple flowers blooming, and just outside the office is a flame tree decorated with vibrant orange flowers.
Somehow even when everything around them is dry and crying out for refreshment, these plants know to dig deeper, to anchor their roots even more firmly into the ground, and when they do so, they not only survive, they flourish.
My instincts often seem to be the opposite: to settle for what’s on the surface, though I know that my thirst will never be satisfied by what’s here. But digging deep takes more energy than I sometimes feel like I have, and if I’m honest, at times I’m not sure how far I’ll have to dig before I will finally reach the water that I crave.
…And yet, even knowing that it’s water that I crave, why do I insist on trying to find nourishment elsewhere? As the rains have begun to fall on the land, bringing to an end the months of dryness, so my parched heart cries out for the refreshment that I know can only come from the Living Water.
How grateful I am for a God who is patient with me, for One who satisfies our hunger and thirst. …And when I see these flowers, these bright, vibrant flowers, blooming in an environment that seems almost hostile to growth, I am encouraged that He also has the power to spring beauty up in the most unlikely places – even in a heart that sometimes feels as weary and dry as the desert that surrounds us.
Oh, Father, I am grateful that even when I am weary, You never grow tired or faint. I am grateful that You can take the dry, desert places in our lives and pour out streams of refreshment on them. Help me to turn to You and You alone to satisfy my thirst and fill my cup.
“A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek;
I want to drink God, deep draughts of God.
I’m thirsty for God-alive.
I wonder, ‘Will I ever make it –
arrive and drink in God’s presence?’”
-From Psalm 42 (The Message)
“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
“O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.”
-Psalm 63:1-5 (NLT)