California is in a drought, a real drought with limited water supplies and earth cracked open, parched. Perhaps your soul knows how that feels. The soil's dry and rocky inside, and you wonder where the fruit has gone.
If only it would rain.
This is what the Lord says— “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. (Isaiah 43:17-21)
Few things are harder than giving praise in the desert, as though He's already brought relief; thanking Him for the healing when healing hasn't come; boasting about His kindness when our circumstances seem downright mean; and proclaiming His praise because of what He can do, regardless of what He chooses to do it. How can we do all that in a barren wasteland? Because of faith, believing, we offer up our sacrifice of praise...
Lifting our heads up to the skies, trusting He will bestow good and not evil.
...to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
"This is what the LORD says: "'I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place. (Jeremiah 30:18)
And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten... (Joel 2:25)
If you are in a drought of any kind today - spiritual, emotional, relational, financial, physical, circumstantial - press on believing that rain is coming. Rain is promised because a kind God reigns - so give Him the reigns to all the dry-bone places, gloomy expressions and soul-sad complaints as you fast and pray you way through this season.
Press in and press on... believing.
"I do believe; help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24)
(Dear friends, I am blogging my way through a 40 day sugar-fast and this is day 5. Some days, like today, I will simply post scripture devotions inspired by our 40 scriptures. Other days I'll journey down paths paved with stories of what I'm learning, or I'll invite guests to share how God is at work in their lives as we press in and press on together. Fasting is a private thing, and we're not putting on a show, simply offering encouragement in the abiding and the stretching and the growing. Join us?)