July 30, 2012
Under the Umbrella.
The past couple of weeks have been brutal. The temperature gauge is soaring and the triple digit heat is making itself quite comfortable around here. In fact, it has unpacked its bags and I heard it on the phone earlier, making plans for mid September! The nerve! Our beautiful green land is quickly browning in the sun and the plants and trees are curling in upon themselves. They look like they are in pain. A few days ago, the thought crept in: why did I not flee to the mountain air when I had my chance one year ago? Why did I allow myself to stay in this place of unbearable Summer heat and dryness? In the face of obvious providential leading, doubt screams. It screams and it undermines- taking the goodness of God and attaching it's worth to the painted lines on a thermometer, the drawn elevation lines on a topography map. Much like a conniving serpent attached it's worth to a piece of dangling fruit at the dawn of humanity.
If He is truly GOOD, He would let you eat that fruit, because you want it!
If He is truly GOOD, He would have led you to cooler air and scenic overlooks, because you want it! You deserve it, after all, don't you?
Is He more good in Colorado than He is in Oklahoma? Is He more good in a luxury loft than a forgotten prison cell?
Reason may argue yes, but God Himself tells us no. His goodness is limited by no circumstance on this earth. It is FOR us and nothing can raise itself up against it, try as it might. Not trouble nor hardship nor persecution nor famine nor nakedness nor danger nor sword. (Romans 8:28, 35-39)
I can not allow myself to do this again. I can not allow myself to feel soul-dead and angry and miserable from the months of June to September. It happens every year, and I'm starting to see the immaturity of it... the blatant distrusting of God in it... taking the pleasant from His hand and rejecting anything that smacks of discomfort or displeasure.
I feel the tiniest spark of hope, sitting here at my kitchen table, watching the sprinklers out front as they battle for green. Everything is brown and crispy, except for where there has been regular water. HELLO, SOUL! Are you listening? WATER THYSELF!! Duh. I may be dry and weary, but that doesn't mean I can't ask God to show Himself to me- even in this (seemingly) brutal and ridiculous season of heat.
Does Summer teach us what it means to long for something? To desperately wait for something like the earth waits for the rain? Is it set-up to teach my self-gratifying soul what it means to actually THIRST? To experience something in life that has no quick-fix or on/off switch? Is it meant to draw me to a source of living water- one that isn't dependent upon fleeting clouds- as I watch the ground outside my window crack and split open like a gaping wound?
If it can help me find these things, even in the slightest way, then... God, let it be Summer all year long! I need all the help I can get in bringing this soul toward maturity and casting off the wavering loyalty of youth. This soul of mine is far too quick to stomp around its room- longing for mountains and wanting its mommy- the moment things get hard.
Would mountains or mommies finally satisfy this cavernous, aching soul of mine? Would it bring the rest that it so unceasingly searches for- every day and with every breath? No. Of course not! There is only one thing that brings true rest and true satisfaction to a soul, and that is the One who authored it... who called it into being and knit it together in secret places before the world was formed.
I believe that God is in control of every drop of rain and every gust of wind and every shifting of a degree. I also believe that He is good. Consequently, I believe that I am in this place, in this season, for a purpose and a reason, and I'm ready to stop grumbling about the heat that comes with it. I will choose to give thanks in the midst of heat domes and record breaking temperatures and brown overtaking green. I will lift my eyes UP, and be grateful for the lesson of thirst, knowing the water I truly long for is ALWAYS raining down on me. All I have to do is put my umbrella away.
"As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before Him?"
at 9:05 PM