Six summers ago I traveled to a camp in Alabama as a 'leader' for youth group camp. I was in college and thought I was going to be teaching middle schoolers and high schoolers about the bible. I don't know what kind of impact I had on them, but God surly used that week to grow me and prepare me for the life that lay ahead of me.
If you would have asked me then, I would have said that I was in the midst of a valley. The trial that led me to the Lord a year before was still just as much of a trial, if not more. I felt so confused about what my future held as I was entering my last year of college. But when I look back, that season may have been a valley, but that valley was oh so beautifully abundant. There was so much growth, new life, opportunities, and I felt like I was being propelled forward in every way. Sometimes I long to go back to that place, trials and all, but it feels like it's out of my reach.
My last blog post was almost four months ago. I didn't forget about my blog, and I haven't been too busy (well, sometimes I've been too busy). I haven't written because I've felt dry. I don't have words to offer or anything good to say. While I walk through this particular valley, on a completely subjective scale it's not nearly as deep, but I don't see the beautiful abundance.
When I was leading the group that I was assigned that summer at youth camp, I began each of our lessons with Psalm 63 - my favorite of the psalms. At the end of the week, one of the keynote speakers quoted these familiar words, and I was so happy to see the faces of the teens and tweens light up as the recognized the words they were hearing.
Sometimes when we read the psalms it's easier to identify with certain lines or phrases and harder to identify with others. For me, I've always been able to declare with confidence that my soul seeks and even faints for my God. But living in this privileged, Western world, it's difficult to identify with this concept of severe thirst - with a deep dryness in a weary land.
I will probably never know the physical condition of being so thirsty and in such a dry land that there is literally no water available. But spiritually, I've felt like that for a while. I don't know why or how I got here, but here I am. For the first time I understand how it feels to cry out from a dry, dusty, destitute place. I see no abundance and the beauty of forward movement seems long lost.
But God is so gracious. He never leaves or forsakes us. He gives us the words to pray to refresh our dry bones and He gives us a glimpse of the beauty up ahead every now and then.
The sanctuary is coming, as are the rich food that satisfied soul. This is His promise, and His promises are always true because His steadfast love is better than life.