This morning has been rainy- not exactly the weather one generally hopes for on their birthday. Normally I would want sunshine or a good snow (aka a foot of snow that you can actually play in). Being in Africa changed my viewpoint on rain though. Here rain is an annoyance. We get rain in abundance off and on throughout the year. In Bots, it only rains during the rainy season. You get a couple months of rain and then nothing for the majority of the year. When I say nothing, I am not exaggerating. There is a reason it is called the dry season. Due to this rain is precious. To give you a hint at the value they place on rain, the word for rain is the same word they use for money. Nearing the end of the dry season everyone is waiting for that first rain especially on years that the dam is low. ( article on the water almost running out). We want an end to water rationing (yes, our water was turned off for days at a time). The earth is thirsty for that rain and so are we.
Right now I feel like I am in a dry season. Everyday I am in pain. My bones ache but it is not just my bones. My heart hurts in ways I cannot fully describe. I am grumpier than I want to be. My joy is missing. I'm just not me. We are in a season of waiting and it is hard. Some days I just want to give up. Hillsong United wrote a song called "Desert Song" and I feel it fits us right now.
"This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me, Lord, through the flame"
This desert is difficult but I know God is walking with me. Ezekiel 37 is the chapter about dry bones. God brings Ezekiel to a valley of bones and tells him to prophesy life into the bones. Then God does the miraculous and brings the bones to life. In a commentary on this chapter the unknown author writes, "The reviving of the dry bones signified God’s plan for Israel’s future national restoration. The vision also, and most importantly, showed that Israel’s new life depended on God’s power and not the circumstances of the people. Putting “breath” by God’s Spirit in the bones showed that God would not only restore them physically but spiritually as well." (Full commentary)
I think God is promising us the same thing. Now before you start thinking I am spouting out the prosperity gospel, let me explain. Our restoration may happen here or in heaven- but it will happen someday. I have spent the last year in pain and I may continue to be in constant pain until I breathe my last breath. However, God promises that there will be no more pain in Heaven (Rev. 21:4). This life is temporary. I'm not going to give up a life of eternal joy due to an earthly temporary life of pain. So I trudge on. It is not easy. If I am honest, most days it is more of a crawl than a walk. There are days I have to rely on others to carry me. (Thank you so much to everyone who has been there for me. Y'all are amazing). But I know a day is coming where the sky will open up and the rains will come. On that day, I don't plan to walk- I am going to dance again in the rain.
Dancing in the rain Thanksgiving 2013
So if you are in the desert place too, don't give up. If you are lonely or weary, find someone to walk with you. I'm not the best company currently, but we can walk/crawl together.
Also, I would be remiss not to mention that even in the desert there is beauty. It is not the same as an ocean or mountain top. Sometimes you have to work harder to see it. Hold onto those moments while waiting.