I’m going through one of life’s desolate seasons. The details aren’t important.
People of faith have desolate times. Maybe we have more of them, more often, since we are prone to see what is holy and also perceive our distance from it,
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Romans 7:21-24 NRSV)
Those familiar with that passage of Scripture know that the very next line is an outpouring of thanks for the rescue (salvation) God sends in Jesus Christ. But stay with me here in the desolation for a moment.
Elijah, the inspiration for this blog, knew desolation and hosted his own pity party. The Lord who saves us knew desolation, watching followers walk away, hearing the snores of friends in his hour of need, crying out with a cosmic case of abandonment. (The people who stood gawking and mocking at his desolation thought he was calling out for Elijah to come help him, btw).
Anyway, this desolate morning I felt one of those strong inner naggings that sometimes turn out to be the voice of God.
I have a son with special needs, and he requires an array of medicines. These I keep in a weekly organizer, and it was getting empty. I was going to wait until tonight to fill it, but the inner urging to do it this morning, even before my coffee brewed, persisted.
So I grumbled and grabbed the medicine bottles and started loading the organizer – and discovered that if I waited until tonight I would be out of an important med and unable to refill the prescription until Monday.
I felt a twinge of joy (oh, don’t worry, I fought it off). That nagging was God. It was God’s own tenderness breaking in to see that my son had his medicine. It was personal love and concern from the heart of the universe. A cosmic chill pill soothed me just as much as any of my son’s meds help him.
Later I read from one of the Prophets, who affirms that God is good and praiseworthy, even in our desolate days,
For though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit appears on the vine,
Though the yield of the olive fails and the terraces produce no nourishment,
Though the flocks disappear from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD and exult in my saving God.
(Habakkuk 3:17-18 NAB)