6 05 2011

It hasn’t rained in months. The ground is dusty, cracked, and thirsty. A brown haze fills the sky as the unceasing wind pulls the dry earth into a dance with the cloudless blue. Withered crops crumble in the fields. Livestock move aimlessly looking for green pasture. Fire leaves scars on the ground as evidence of the ravages of rainless, sun-soaked days.

Drought is not pretty. It wounds the land, stabbing its fierce heat into the heart of the soil. It eats away at life, pulling the green we recognize as signs of growth and health out of the landscape. It leaves dreams in the dust, hope withering under its fury, and a sense of desolation and destruction in its slow, choking wake.

Droughts don’t happen overnight. They take slow steps forward as days without rain take their toll. At first, no one thinks about a week without rain. It is only when weeks turn into months that people start seeing the effects the lack of life-giving moisture has on the life around them. Defined by a reality that first impacts the basics of soil, roots, and seed, the drought takes hold deep in the heart of the land, tightening its grip with each rainless day.

Droughts of the soul are even more devastating than droughts that ravage the land.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1

Droughts of the soul can only be answered in the refreshing, renewing presence of God. The only way to quench the thirst burning in our hearts is to dive into the deep well of His grace. The Living Water is the only answer to the cracks and deep brokenness revealed in times of spiritual drought. Our roots need to be buried firmly in His Word. Our ability to thrive and grow is nurtured in dependence on His faithfulness. The shade of His presence is our best refuge from the scorching heat of the world.

My Jesus Resolution today is to drink deeply from the water of life. Farmers have no choice about a drought on the land. They know the value of water. They would choose drenching rains over the terrible wastefulness of drought any day. Droughts of the soul can be caused by inattentiveness, lack of focus, or dipping into the mirages offered by the world. Today I am going to be deliberate about immersing myself in the pool of His mercy. I am going to seek His face and soak in the delight of His love. As I pray for rain for the land, I am going to pray for Him to reign in my life, quenching the deep thirst of my soul with His presence and power.

The Hotel Room

4 05 2011

It was a beautiful room in a great hotel. The bed was soft, the pillows were fluffy, and the amenities made everything very comfortable. I settled in for the evening, waiting for the morning flight that would take me home.

Wrapping a warm blanket around my shoulders, I looked around the room and admired its features. Much thought and planning had gone into making this a comfortable space. There were clean linens, a wide work space, and a television with more channels than I could count. There was a little refrigerator in case I wanted a cold beverage, bedside reading lamps for finishing the novel I had started, and a luxurious bathroom designed for pampering.

There was only one problem. It wasn’t home.

Looking around the room, I appreciated its beauty and comfort, but didn’t even think about settling in for the rest of my life. This was a temporary home. A place to lay my head and dream about where I really belonged. It was a stop on my journey – a journey that was propelling me toward open arms, wide smiles, deep love, high fives, and inexpressible joy. I got up in the morning, glad for the good night’s rest, but ready to move on. I packed my bag, saying goodbye to maid service, stacks of pillows, and the perfectly coordinated, professionally pulled-together room in order to travel to the place where my heart can truly rest.

I am thankful for home. I am also thankful for the lessons of the hotel room. It reminded me not to get too comfortable here in this world. This is a temporary home. A place to enjoy and appreciate, but that is meant to open our eyes to our real home. Our souls were never meant to settle here. Our hearts were meant to stretch homeward – to a place where we are deeply loved, intimately known, and graciously received.

My Jesus Resolution today is to remember what is temporary and what is permanent. If I can’t take it home with me, then it deserves hotel room status. Useful, enjoyable, but temporary. I tend to invest way too much of myself in the things that will be left behind at the end of my stay. I am going to let home realign my priorities and redefine my possibilities. Today I am going to look around with the eyes of a traveler – thankful for the blessings that are mine today, but always with an eye on the journey that is taking me home.

Loving God’s Word

2 05 2011

She is in the third grade and cute as a button. Her strawberry blonde hair falls over her freckles. In her eyes, you can see the promise of the graceful woman she will one day become. Her heart, however, is already stunningly beautiful.

She loves God’s Word. Excited about learning something new, she leans forward to tell me lessons from David and Paul. She talks about wanting to learn more about Jesus. She anxiously tugs at her mom for permission to dive in and soak up more.

I want to be like her. How long has it been since a passion for God’s Word overwhelmed your heart? Like a sponge soaking in the ocean’s goodness, she lets lessons about God’s grace, love, mercy, and purpose shape her soul. Her heart creates a path for the light of His presence to direct her steps. Already a radiance  plays on her face because she spends time with God.

“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” – Psalm 119:97 

My Jesus Resolution today is to love God’s Word. I want to do more than read it; I want to see God in its pages. I want to do more than listen; I want to anticipate the gentle whisper of His presence. I want to do more than dryly digest the words; I want to taste and see that the Lord is good. I want His light to shine from my eyes, His love to shape my soul, and His goodness to flow through my words. I want to be so in love with His Word that it inspires someone else to take a fresh look at Jesus.