Joy is the serious business of Heaven. -C.S. Lewis
My new life in my new city starts something like this: 5:00AM alarm one goes off until alarms two and three go off at 5:30 and 5:45. My eyes open just enough for my hands to find the door before my shuffling little feet do. I stare at my reflection in the bathroom mirror having a silent conversation with myself trying to justify stretching that dry shampoo just one more day. I decide that washing it would be best for everyone involved. I shuffle play my “Hood Things and Also Worship” Spotify playlist and we proceed to get this thing poppin’ in the name of Jesus, Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang.
Fresh face and I’m out the door.
These days some days are really good and then some days I feel like the kid on the monkey bars that missed the last rung. One second I’m king of the playground and the next I am free falling into a no-mercy, dirt sandwich, all-eyes-on-you face plant. But no sooner than I’m hitting the ground I’m back on my feet spitting out the grass in my mouth and with what little wind is left in my lungs I squeeze out my most convincing, “I’m okay.”
Except in the corporate world it’s Nancy in accounting catching you with your face in your hands. She asks if you’re okay and even though you cannot breathe and all of your insides feel like they are in your throat you say yes *exclamation point* walking a little faster back to your cubicle to hide your red nose and burning eyes in an excel sheet because you will not cry at work.
You will not.
They went three days in the wilderness and found no water.
When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” and he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”
Last week I found myself sitting in a staring contest with my closed Bible on my kitchen floor, because I knew that if I opened it meant dealing with my junk and if I know one thing about my Jesus it is that He is in the business of dealing with things and I didn’t want to. So I sat there with my clenched fists and my arms crossed listening to myself breathe and the hum of my refrigerator, giving some major side eye to the Big Guy.
When will be the last time you take something from me? I could feel the hot tears behind my eyelids. I was tired. I was angry. I wanted my joy back.
“So I am going to lead her into the desert again; there I will speak to her heart and win her back with words of love. I will give back to her the vineyards she had and make the Valley of Trouble a gateway of hope.”
And that’s exactly what He did. Again. Yeah, I’ve been here before. Not here here with the refrigerator, but I had been here. He began to minister to the bitter places in my heart right there on my kitchen floor. I realized that I wasn’t here because God was mean or wanted to watch me suffer, but He had brought me back to this place to heal me and to remind me who He is and what He can do. I’ve brought you here to heal you. I’ve taken from you to make room for the new things that I’m going to do.
You know, I’m learning that dry ground has the most room for water and sorrow digs the deepest wells for joy. My prayer for the one reading this is the same as the one that was brought to life in my own heart: Lord, heal my dry ground. Let the places that were once hemorrhaging with hurt and bitterness spring up and begin to overflow with joy and thankfulness. May windows that were left cracked to let the cold in become floodgates of peace and forgiveness.