I love music, it speaks to me. I am one of those ‘sing at the top of your lungs’ while in the car people. Music brings me joy and sadness, it seems to reach the emotions I often try to mask. NeedToBreathe is one of my favorite Christian bands. The chorus of their song, Wasteland, has words that have carried me through many walks in the past couple years.
“In this wasteland where I’m livin’ there is a crack in the door filled with light. And it’s all that I need to get by.”
As I have walked and prayed and cried and listened to this song, I always focused on the crack of light. Things happen that shock us, break us, threaten to completely derail any sense of who we thought we were and without warning we find ourselves in a wasteland. The wilderness or wasteland is a place of dryness, thirst, hunger, sadness, disbelief. The Israelites lived there for 40 years! How could they possibly have kept on keeping on? How in the world did they put one foot in front of the other?
I think we often get lost in the wasteland. We can get overwhelmed by the feeling of the wasteland, by the heat or the cold or the loss or the pain or the fear or the loneliness, whatever makes up our own version of a wasteland. We forget that there is more than what we feel or what our circumstances appear to be when we are in the wasteland.
A lot can happen in a wasteland. We can allow ourselves to get lost in whatever defines our wasteland, OR you can dig your roots down deep in search of the water that exists far beneath the surface. Are we aware of and do we look for relief in a manner outside of what we would humanly expect? I recently came across the following quote: “I love you in the middle of your pain even though I don’t relieve it as quickly as you wish. I am worthy of your trust, no matter what happens in your life. I have a good plan, and nothing will stop Me from carrying it to completion. You must live now in the tension between anguish and hope.” Dr. Larry Grabb, 66 Love Letters
I think the tension between anguish and hope is the beauty of the wasteland. The bible speaks to this tension so often in the old testament but one of my favorite times is during Jeremiah’s prophesies to Israel about their impending exile as a result of their sin. Even in the midst of their sin and their impending banishment, God had a glorious plan to build them up and to plant them. They were being warned they would be entering a wasteland physically and spiritually but God still made it clear they would be cared for in the midst of it.
Jeremiah 24:4-7 says, ‘The word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Like these good figs, so I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will keep my eyes on them for their good and will return them to this land. I will build them up and not demolish them; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am Yahweh. They will be My people and I will be their God because they will return to Me with all their heart.”’
So I live in the tension between anguish and hope, leaning toward hope, and digging deep to find the water that exists beneath the surface, as I focus on that crack of light, all the while knowing that I am a cared-for exile.
By His Grace