Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Needing the Weeds

It was a long walk - a very long walk - and a dry walk. The air was dry, the ground was dry, and my throat was dry. I kept my eyes on the ground watching for scurrying animals or, even worse, scorpions. There was tall rustling grass just plagued with ticks, I could feel it, and dry underbrush that was home to some rattlesnake nest I'm sure I was close to trampling.

We walked through the gulley following the very non-descript map we had been given and it was feeling a little eerie. The trees were dead. The grass was dead. That armadillo was dead. Everything, it seemed, had been drained of life and I gave up any hope of seeing something that was thriving in that deserted place.

Then, in the basin of the parched gulley, we came across the weeds. The ground was dry and cracked all around it, and the bright green of the leaves lay in stark contrast to the gray-brown dirt which surrounded them. There was no moisture in the dirt, but somehow these weeds had been able to grow strong, to dig in their roots, and even to multiply. In the middle of such a desperately dry place the weeds took on a unique kind of beauty.

They were life.

Now don't get me wrong, I know they were just weeds. They had no colorful flowers. No long intricate stems. No intoxicating aroma. In any garden they would've been an eyesore, but in the middle of what could otherwise be deemed a wasteland, they were awesomely beautiful. Life had grown out of a dry, cracked riverbed and stood (albeit 1/4 in. off the ground) as a testimony that it was, indeed, fertile ground.

I've had a lot of "dry seasons" that closely resemble the Texas landscape. Parched and cracked and desperately needing refreshment while the proverbial vultures wait on the branches overhead for me to give in. I go through seasons where I just feel empty of all life, and it's hard for me to remember what life even looked like in me.

When was I ever refreshing? When was I ever weighed down by His fruit? When was the last time someone stopped to look at the beauty in my life?

But there are also those weeds that somehow seem to pop up without any nourishment or any warning: an encouraging word from someone, a tearful prayer, a moment of meaningful worship, or sudden clarity about a verse of Scripture. They're nothing fancy - no elaborate spiritual masterpieces. These are just small, simple things that stand as testimony in my life that, however dry or desperate the terrain may be, the Spirit is never done with His work in me.

I'm learning to love the weeds. They let me know I'm still alive.

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.

~Jeremiah 17:7-8

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


you've been with me
so long
now I want to know

I want to hear you
say your name
in your voice
tell me who you are
show me what you're like
reveal your heart to me
all the good that's in you

come to me
speak to me
but only pass by me

because I'm afraid
of who you are

And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you and I will problaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
~Exodus 33:19-20

Alone on a mountaintop Moses pleaded with God to give him some answers. The LORD had shown Himself faithful time after time throughout the entire story, but at this point in Moses' need he just wanted to see God.

God, in all His goodness, holiness, mercy, and compassion chose to reveal Himself, and yet conceal Himself. He gave Moses the glimpse he was asking for, the promise and hope he craved, and the intimacy and presence for which most of us are too timid to ask. At the same time, who He is was too much for Moses, and in His mercy He witheld enough of Himself to spare Moses' life.

This is God in Exodus. This is God as He reveals Himself to His chosen people, fulfilling the promises He made to them in the beginning.

This is the veiled unveiling.