My word for the day: despair. I still battle with despair—weeping and sorrowing because sometimes it seems that I will never be able to change who I am inside. And today I am so very tired. I have shut down, and I cannot feel any real emotions. I walk around, doing what needs to be done, but I know that I should be enjoying the people around me—the people I love and cherish so much. I am doing what I usually love to do. I am cooking for and serving those who mean the most to me. But on the inside I am numb. I do not understand feeling this way, and I do not like it. Even as I write this, tears are in my eyes for the despair that I feel. I want to be alive inside and not numb!
I plead with God to give me a sign, to give me some hope, to give me the strength to continue my walk on the path to wholeness. But the tears are falling and falling as despair washes over me again. Oh, God, what is there for me now, in this moment? And now my tears are slowing to a stop. God has brought me a glimmer of hope. He reminds me of a recent road trip through the Southwest.
On that drive through the desert, I saw myself in the terrain around me. I saw desolation in the barren rocks, thorny cactus, and general nothingness all around me. My heart felt just like that desert. I felt hard like the rocks and prickly like the cactus. I felt empty. The relentless desert wind made driving difficult. The wind blew and blew. It reminded me of all the things in my life that were beyond my control. Circumstances in my life were blowing me from here to there, making it hard to navigate. There were situations that made me feel sad and helpless, situations that I didn’t want to face or even to think about. These things were like the wind that just kept blowing.
Then there were the road signs along the highway, signs I had never seen before in my life. One of the signs read, “Zero Visibility Possible.” Really? I’m supposed to keep driving even when I cannot see? Yet that’s what the signs instructed me to do, to drive and not to stop even with zero visibility. And that’s exactly what I felt was going on in my life. I was traveling down a road I had never been on before, and sometimes I could not see where I was going, but I had to keep moving. Keep getting up, keep getting dressed, keep cooking, keep cleaning, keep loving the precious ones around me, keep living.
On this same road trip I saw an ominous black cloud that appeared to touch the ground right beside my car. It was heavy and oppressive, and I felt as if I could get lost in it. It was an amazing sight. I had never seen a cloud so black and so close. To me, it represented the storm that was going on in my life. I feared that the black cloud in my personal desert might cover me up or take me away. I cried out to God as despair threatened to crush me again.
But then, in the distance—down the road, past the cloud—I saw it. I couldn’t believe it. I saw a rainbow, but not just any rainbow. This rainbow that God had sent me was huge, enormous, the biggest rainbow I had ever seen! On the flat desert landscape, the rainbow stretched from horizon to horizon, filling up the entire sky with huge, bright bands of vivid color. I was amazed. I was awestruck. It was a rainbow for me.
So I looked again at the desert terrain, this time with different eyes. God showed me His truths using the cactus. I saw some cacti blooming and others standing firm against the relentless wind. I saw strength and beauty, even in the desolate desert, and I was reassured that I would find strength and beauty even in this difficult, stormy time of my life. I knew that I must remember the rainbow and cling to the belief that new life would once again fill my heart.
What about you? Are you going through a season of despair and sorrow as you read this? Let us look at Isaiah 35:1: “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom: it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy” (NIV). I have been allowing the enemy to taunt me and oppress me, but today I am going to remember that rainbow and praise my God. I put my hope in God, that one day I will be able to stand firm like the cactus and bloom beautifully in the desert. I will not allow the winds to blow away my hope.
Hey, let’s go through the desert together. Let’s keep going, even when there’s zero visibility. Let’s bloom where God has placed us. And always, let us keep our eyes on the rainbow. It fills the whole sky. Look at how beautiful it is! And it’s for us.
Blessings – Lisa