Thirst

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Darkness drags back painfully. Hard, crackled earth peeks into blurry vision. Clarity inches in and soon all that can be seen is pained land that goes on and on and on.

Wilted flowers, that should be full of color, slump against the dirt that had sustained them. With the last of their energy, they cling to their petals having already lost their leaves. Deserted, they slumber.

Tall, burdened trees stand their ground eeking out what little life is left in the earth. Branches hang from weakened joints until, with a shivering crackle, they are rent from their base to smack and burst on the dry, dry ground below.

Coarse flurries of air stagger over the land dragging persevering roots of flowers from their beds and sweeping the litterings of the trees away.

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The land creeps into your eyes, your mind, your soul. Oppressive air invades your malfunctioning lungs and bits of dust cleave to your throat. A cough sends some racing out raking the tender skin inside.

The sun has made sucking all the moisture out of your aching skin its goal.

Your eyelids embrace your eyes every time you try to blink so you stare and stare and stare since you have been robbed of the ability to lubricate your eyes.

A haze wafts through the air causing the landscape to twist and wave as it waits for you to die. Fissured lips grind apart to ease the departure of a single, impotent word. “Thirsty.”

An image sways through the haze. Closer and closer it glides until it casts a meager shadow across your eyes. Scarred feet pause just before your face. Too faint and too pained to raise your eyes, you murmur that word again.

Defaced hands wriggle beneath your smarting body and grasp your raw skin securely. As you wheeze in pain, a sweet sweet voice coasts into your mind, “My child, come with Me for you are weary and your body is damaged. Trust in Me and I will replenish your soul. Let me give to you My living water. You will never thirst again, for this water will become in you a ‘spring of water welling up to eternal life’ (John 4:14).”

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*Originally written for Park Place Church of God’s Lenten Series

Lenten Thoughts – Solitary

Solitary…it’s not a state of being that I like to think about. It implies that you are alone, isolated, without companions.

This state of being – solitary, alone, isolated – is like a dark cloud to me. It weighs on my soul causing me to drag my feet and grasp for love. It reminds me how hard it was moving to a school where I knew no one and was nowhere near my family. I hadn’t even visited Anderson before I moved on campus.

I felt alone in a crowd of people. Isolated. Forsaken by what I knew…

aloneIt was a rough year. But in my time of need I dreamed of the cross and Christ’s suffering. He cried, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (Matthew 27:46)

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?” (Psalm 22:1)

Sometimes, we feel that way. We cry out in anguish “Why have You forsaken me, God!!?”

Why do we say such things? Why do we confront God with our state of being solitary?

The more I think about the years that I felt alone and forsaken (even though I had a loving family and church) the more I think that my soul was begging for God’s presence.

It’s gotten me thinking…

If we were made to glorify God, what happens when we don’t fulfill our calling?

It creates an emptiness inside. An emptiness that, I believe, can only be filled by God’s presence.

There was a book I read (a Christian-fantasy novel) that put forth this idea that without God’s presence, without His breath, we would not be able to function. We would cease to live. We would be solitary.

What would it be like to be forsaken by your Creator? Would there be physical pain? Or just spiritual pain, I wonder?

But, then again, I don’t actually want to know. Even beginning to imagine being forsaken by God makes my soul curl into a fetal position whimpering and begging Him to never let me be without His presence.

See, all that time when I felt alone taught me that I’m never truly alone for He is always with me. And when I feel solitary I am to follow in the Psalmists’ footsteps and glorify Him despite my being or feeling alone.

Psalm 22 doesn’t stop with the questions. It goes on to give glory to God:

“You are holy.” (vs. 3)

“I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when he cried to Him, He heard.” (vs. 22-24)

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*Written for Park Place Church of God’s Lenten series