It rains in my corner of the world during November. The sky is gray and close, the wind blows and even the dogs stand at the back door rather than run out to play in the backyard.
It takes us all some time to settle into the darkness of standard time and the coming of winter.
I have never lived in a desert climate. For all but the first year of my married life, I've lived at sea-level. Winter doesn't come with a bang here. It comes with more raindrops and a deepening darkness. Crespuscular rays of sun are about what we get. It's not quite as though we live in Alaska or Finland, but it's a gloaming. And slow in coming.
For the Psalmist, the hardest, most empty-of-God days are those in the desert. The Israelites wandered for 40 years. They had His promise, His covenant and faith. It was a hard place to be and they didn't do it well. Dry and sometimes deadly to them, that's what the desert was. Right? We know that. We understand desert metaphors in our faith. I've lived in the desert before. Felt far away from God, felt like I could neither hear nor see nor know where I was going.
But today, as I look out my rain-spattered window, I think that for us Northwesterners, a more apt metaphor might be this drenching season. The clouds cover the bay from where I write these words. The wind blows the last of the leaves from the trees, and I am cold, inside and out. Wondering if I'll be warm again. Wondering if He'll warm me with His words. Does He speak in this season?
"Be still," Jesus told the giant storm on the sea, but this isn't such a storm as that. This is just a November storm. It will rain like this until March. And I will pull my coat over my head and hide. Will God meet me in these raindrops?
These are the questions of 'desert' moments. They fit here. These are the cries of my heart when I want MORE and don't even know how to ask. My heart is troubled and I don't know what that trouble is. But I wait. Patiently, He tells me. Wait, and hope, and believe that though "Clouds and thick darkness surround Him, righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne." Psalm 97:2
"I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in His word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning." Psalm 130:5-6Wai