Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe.
Your prophets spoke of a day when the desert would blossom
and waters break forth in the wilderness.
Bless us as we light the candles on this wreath.
Strengthen our hearts
as we prepare for the coming of the Lord.
May he give water to all who thirst,
for he is our light and our salvation.
Blessed be God forever. Amen. (from Come, Lord Jesus: Devotions for the Home)
Today I was wondering how hearts heal. I know they do. I know that time and Advent and lighting a fire in the wood stove and typing next to a sleeping black lab build up the muscle, restore the blood flow, remind our tired selves that indeed, all shall be well. But how does that happen? How long does it take, to wade through and wonder and reassemble the jigsaw puzzle of yourself? How do our hearts get put back together?
|(mandie sodoma, sindisiwe photography)|
I was having lunch today with one of my mentors when the beginning of an answer sprang up in front of me, unbidden. She asked, "How are you?" and I said, "I'm good, Dr. Phillips. He is so faithful." Internally I paused. Wait. What did I just say? That He is that faithful? Me, who's been hammering down the doors and throwing up the prayers and impatiently telling myself that He is not faithful, that He does not notice, that I am invisible?
She smiled at me, a knowing and gentle smile. "How do you know that? How do you keep that in front of you in what is a horribly stressful time of year?" A few seconds of silence, and I glanced out the window at the pond and the last few leaves scuttling across the pavement.
"Because I am not invisible. Because He has me on a short leash. Because every time I want to run, and I try to run, He calls out to me. And when I hear Him, Dr. Phillips, I come home again. Because I can't not be in love with Him."
We let those words linger above us as we kept talking, weaving our conversation through Isaiah and God's sovereignty, love, and will, wondering about where I'll go next and how good it is to learn things. But that's the answer: I am not invisible. He calls out to me.
And if you are like me, there are always these moments, these seasons or years, where you think you're invisible. That He doesn't care about you. That His love isn't for you. That His goodness doesn't reach you where you are and maybe He forgot and maybe He gave up and maybe He left you in the desert to thirst forever.
But you are not invisible. You are not invisible. The deserts blossom. The water breaks forth in the wilderness. And I keep hearing Him call out to us, to come inside, to remember that He is always with us. To remember that all He has is ours.
This wild and miraculous love puts our hearts back together by living inside us.
We are not invisible. We are so visible He sent Himself to live with us. We are so visible, and so impossibly loved, that He is Immanuel. God with us. And He is coming to make the deserts blossom.