Snow in the Desert

Don’t be fooled by this picture! It’s snowing today in Colorado Springs with gusty winds and temperatures dipping from yesterday’s 80° to this morning’s 20°. I pulled spindly petunias from the flower box two weeks ago and the herbs are gone until next spring. Although the optimists among us predict warm sunshine for the weekend, I fear that summer is truly over.

In case you hadn’t noticed, no words have landed on this page since May. (And if you didn’t notice…oh, dear.) My summer wasn’t one of lying in the sun, thinking deep thoughts, musing about life, people and God. Oh yes, life was present, people surrounded me, and God was near…but He wasn’t saying much. Have you ever had those days? Or weeks? Or months? Maybe not quite a desert, but definitely a dry spell?

Mine wasn’t like Elijah’s. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t running for my life. I didn’t cry out, “I have had enough, Lord” (1 Kings 19:4). I sang with 5,000 others at our Cru Staff Conference and relished times with old friends. My mind was stretched and challenged as I learned from experts at a writers’ conference. (Best part of that week was living with, eating with, shopping with, laughing with my daughter!) Lunch with friends traveling through town was delightful and, yes, even planting those herbs and petunias brought joy.

But it was dry with only occasional sprinklings of water from the Word and the Spirit.  I know I’m not the only one with these experiences, many have encountered not just dry days, but months of deep depression. The list is long: Mother Teresa, C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, and others.

The person—like this writer!—who wants answers, if not easy answers, is driven to the word “why.” One man wrote, “Many prominent Christians have shared their thoughts on why this happens: ‘you’re recovering from a time of sin, dealing with a season of doubt, stuck in an old-fashioned rut,’ the list is endless.” I don’t have a holy answer to why this happens. But I’ve decided that, at least for me, it’s just a time to BE. To review God’s past nearness and blessings. And most difficult, it’s a time to keep on keeping on. Not with dullness of spirit nor spurts of manufactured gaiety, but with determination and knowledge that God will may reveal himself in new ways, with new words, at a new time.

So…with tonight’s meeting cancelled because of the snow, with chili steaming for tonight’s supper, and with the aroma of cinnamon rolls permeating the house, it’s time to simply say, “Thank you, Father, for being with me in the snow, in the desert, for tempting me with the fragrance of your presence.” Like the scene pictured above, the sun—the Son—is always present.