This was written at a time when we lived in a literal desert in Israel and I could feel all the things expressed, within my soul, because we were also in a desert in our spiritual lives, a desert through which all pilgrims on the journey to the city of God must pass.
This writing was also prophetic of events that would shortly come to pass as we spoke the Word of God to Paul, whom the Lord had given us to be our friend. As a matter of coincidental fact, the day of this introductory writing (Oct. 9) is, I believe, the very anniversary almost to the hour, of Paul forsaking his wife in obedience to the Lord, to walk in the Way of Life.
The desert is dry and parched, and I am hot and thirsty;
We two have been matched as partners in this stretch of our history.
The sun’s scorching face is forceful enough; from it I can find no escape,
No shade, no water, no nightfall to comfort my soul in its wearisome journey.
Miles and miles of burning sand, I scarcely know where it began…
It started with greenery, then greenery and sand, and now it is sand upon sand.
Yet after some miles I’ve trodden and feel I can go no farther,
A trickle of water comes out of a rock, destined for that very hour.
With leanness of soul and hungering for life, not a soul for months have I seen,
And all my possessions have slowly been lost, ’til much lighter my journey has been.
It’s strange how the harder the trials, the sweeter the life becomes;
The easier the life filled with comforts, the more ensnared in this wild.
Many storms form on the horizon, threatening I know not what,
And only the odd one materializes to give me the wisdom I’ve sought.
With serpents quite often threatening my life, and insects disturbing my peace,
I travel over jagged and treacherous rocks and long from this desert, release.
Many mirages have promised me life and so fair they are at a distance,
But somehow I’m learning the difference between what appears to be real and what is.
I cannot tell how much longer my wilderness journey will be;
I know only this: that I cannot turn back, not while I have yet to be free.
Methinks I have seen circling above, those wretched birds of prey,
Who hover and wait so endlessly, for their opportune day.
But I believe in the One Who has promised to keep me until that day,
And when it comes, it’ll be by His choosing, and with Him I’ll arrive to stay.
Israel, Sept. 79
If we truly believe that God is over all, then it must follow that He is the engineer of our needs as well. We will often think of Him as the Provider but seldom as the One Who has created the need to show Himself as Provider. Grasping the truth that my needs are not dangers or risks but rather introductions to Him and to His faithfulness turns me from fear and uncertainty to excitement and joyful anticipation. He is not only the Provider of the provisions required to meet the need but also the Provider of the need to require the provisions which He is able and ready and willing to deliver. And why all this? To teach me about Him and His ways, to reveal Himself in me, to set my feet on solid rock, to demonstrate His faithfulness, power and love. What will be next? How can I be sure? How can these things be? We spend what we have Of what we had But not of what we have. Yesterday provides to the hour But tomorrow too has its needs, And yesterday’s provision Will be no more When tomorrow arrives To demand its share. And if today There is nothing given I will have no yesterday To meet the need of the hour When that hour comes. From where do our needs come? Do they not arise From Reality? Then they must be met by the same. By the same They will be met. And because all things proceed From the Master of all, Therefore provision meets the need As the sun dispels the darkness And happiness the gloom. Why should I doubt? Why should I fear, Know...
It has been said that confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom. This can also be said of its lack. How crippling is the power of uncertainty and fear! It can reduce an otherwise mighty man to an emaciated personality fit for little more than to exist. Ironically the victim is paralyzed so effectively by his own power which makes him so weak. In this he is practically omnipotent so far as his state is concerned. Nothing can alter this condition but a fiery judgment that comes into every man's existence sooner or later and either delivers or destroys the wretched soul depending on his inclination and desire. I see a BOY. He hungers for an acknowledgment and appreciation of himself. He hungers for love - which only a good father could give - but finds none. "See, daddy? See, daddy?" he exclaims, waving his arms wildly. His Daddy ignores him. Always crestfallen, the boy is unable to cease trying to prove, to please. No matter the greatness of his efforts and accomplishments; they are not enough. His countenance tells both his effort and his frustration. I see a SOLDIER. What an excellent soldier he is! What a fine sword he possesses! All his armament, his physique and his skills are to be both admired and feared by friend and foe alike. But what will he do in the Firestorm that approaches, nay, that is even here? As the father, it recognizes no sword; it laughs at physique and scoffs at skill and experience. I see a PRI...
Who is going to do it – I or God? Who will initiate – the one led or the One leading? Do we help Him? Does He need our help? Were we around to help Him start it all? Do we think we must at least be around to help Him finish it? Do we have any understanding as to what the finish should be? Either I reign or God reigns. Either I call the shots or He does. And every soul is in damnation until it learns to put its trust entirely in Him. As one has already put it, “Let go and let God.” Grab a hold! Grab with all you’ve got! Grab? Grab what? I have grabbed and grabbed and grabbed. I now find nothing to grab, and if I did, I would be too exhausted to grab. I once sat and waited. I waited. I waited to see. I waited to hear and to understand. Nothing came for me to grab. But then nothing grabbed me and I could wait no more. I went out to grab, finding something to grab. Now I grab instead of wait. And I hurt for grabbing. I grab again and the pain grows intense, intolerable. Then I remember………….no more grabbing! So I wait until I am grabbed again by the One Who already holds me and Who teaches me not to grab But to rest and to be grabbed. Lethbridge, July 20, 1984