How desolate and parched is the landscape of my soul. The springs have dried up and my heart bears the scars like those of a parched earth – damaged and laden with the fissures that come only through the absence of moisture and life-giving rain.
Yes, my sin is ever before me. I battle it every day. My mind convinces me of my unworthiness to even play act the role of a believer. The enemy stalks both my waking and my sleeping. My prayers echo within the empty chambers of my soul. Words seem meaningless and void of any substantive content.
I read the Text like it were a classroom book and not the necessary food for my soul. I look at the words. I hear their meaning. I count the pages. I look at my notes. Then I wonder – why did I just do this? What was I looking for? Where is the God of these pages? The one the ancients spoke about with such personal intensity.
On more than one occasion I wonder “What kind of God would do that to his people?” Is holiness only achieved through plagues and the scorching heat of judgement? Does the song only come through the Singer millenia yet to come? Does the God King David speaks about so intimately only exist in the theater of the mind? Is he different from the God exposed in sermons on the mount, the feeding of thousands and the healing of ten thousands? Is it all about Pentecost and nothing about desert sojourns? I see nothing of personal devotions by the Twelve. Peter wept bitterly but then the next day acted as though nothing had happened. How can that be when, from guilt, Judas hangs himself ? Don’t we all – at one point or another – have thirty pieces of silver jingling in our pockets?
Why is the promised land seemingly teeming with the enemy? Why do the sons of Israel find comfort both in the Passover and presumptive idols decorating their hearth? Did they not listen to the “only one God” part? How can my mind be so fickle as to be focused one minute on the divine, the next minute consumed with minutia that yields only vanity of vanities?
Are those that I “see” all that spiritual? Do they live genuine lives of devotion and personal sacrifice or is it simply a charade like the wizard of Oz behind the tent? If I pulled their curtain back would I see the same nakedness of the soul that seems to haunt me? Or are we all simply trying to get back to Kansas the best way we know how?
Is there a mountain top somewhere on the horizon or is the valley all that lies before me?