Saturday, January 26, 2013

Streams in the Wasteland

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." -Isaiah 43:18-19

In the more than five years that have passed since I obeyed God’s call to move to Raleigh, I've felt as if the battle has been constantly uphill.  I have had nine different jobs. My toy poodle and I have lived in six different apartments, one of which I found just days shy of us being homeless.  My closest friends have suffered more injury and injustice than anyone should in a lifetime, much less in five years.  Also, I've been through several failed relationships (and pseudo-relationships), the most recent dissolution of which was nothing short of just pitifully tragic and left me feeling like a life-giving, spirit-illuminating candle had been snuffed out in my soul.

When I woke up this New Year’s Day, I found myself looking blankly up at the ceiling and realized that in the last few months I had settled into an attitude of forlorn complacency.  I’d accepted that this is it, then, and at 30 years old staring down the barrel of yet another long, cold, lonely winter, I realized I’d been behaving for months like there is just no more fight left in me.  I had become a modern day Miss Havisham, rotting spiritually and emotionally in the ruins of hope continually deferred.

But God.

Suddenly, words God spoke to me six months ago rushed into my ears like a flood.  I remember it like it was yesterday:  I was sitting in a church basement on a Wednesday evening.  It was mid-July, and God’s rich blessings to me throughout the previous year were now totally up in the air.  Everything was uncertain, and the foreboding scent of approaching tragedy wafted around unmistakably.  As I sat there during the service, I knew that things were going to drastically, starkly change, and I was not happy.

In fact, I was furious.  I felt duped and betrayed by God, like I was watching Him wrap His fingers around the rug He was about to yank out from underneath me.  As the certainty settled into my spirit that I wouldn’t be back at that church for awhile, knowledge that was surely being divinely given, I flung my anger and heartbreak back at God in silent but virulent consternation.

The service was an hour long.  Forty-five minutes into it, I had not given God one second of respite from my heartbroken vitriol.  (Those of you who know me in person will believe this easily.)  Why was all of this happening?  Why did I have to suffer this way?  Why, why, why?  What was the point of all this?  What had this whole year meant if this was to be the conclusion??

Approaching minute 46 of the service, God had had enough.  In my spirit, I heard STOP!

I stopped.

For a moment, there was silence.  The clock ticked by for a few seconds.  My mind was frozen in startled obedience.

And then, “You need to trust Me.  I will make all things new.

I wish I could say everything changed right then, but I honestly didn't believe it.  I was so brokenhearted that the Creator of the Universe spoke promises to me and I second-guessed Him. “What, Lord?  Can you repeat that?” 

He did!  “You need to trust Me.  I will Make. All. Things. New.”

And this New Year's morning, after half a year of feeling like a light had gone out in the parlor of my heart, He spoke those same words to me again.

If I believe what I say I believe, then I have to believe Him when He speaks - especially when He speaks His Word, and I know His Word to be the truth for my life.

He will do it.

For Him, nothing is impossible.

He will make everything new.

He will make a way where there is no way.

In fact, it is already done.

I’m still looking up.  

And wouldn't you know it?  I'm already starting to see the beginnings of His streams in the wasteland.

"The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." -1 Thessalonians 5:24