Last weekend, my family and I traveled just a couple hours east to the low desert for a weekend getaway. Always enjoying the open landscape of the desert, its unique plant life and vast wilderness, it certainly did not dissapoint. We took a drive out to Joshua Tree National Park on one of our outings, capturing visuals with photography and viewing information provided by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior--awe-struck at the beauty and splendor. God's architectural floor plan of these deserts actually include the convergence of two: the Mojave and the Colorado.
The weekend, special to us because it is the birthday of my older son, who looks down upon us now, from his Heavenly vantage point. We do this family time in his memory for our own good and because God is good.
It's 3 days I yearn for more than Christmas, more than summer vacation, more than reunions, more than...anything.
Because in those 3 short days, a difficult relationship I have with my other son, heals. He lets his guard down. I never talk about yesterday or next week. We enjoy the moment, laughing, learning, playing, speaking civil to each other, exploring, celebrating, asking questions without pretense-- loving each other and totally enjoying the scenery, the food and the atmosphere...each other.
I ask God in my prayers... why do things change when we return? His answer to me is to wait, be patient, keep praying and keep acting as though everyday I have to love on my son, is a day I am making and creating something new in him, softening him to receive and know the path I planned for his own redemption, his return to his own promised land.
OK, Lord, I trust You.
For now, his wild wilderness remains untamed, hidden with venomous snakes seemingly always ready to strike. Like the Rangers at the station of the entrance to the park, God's Holy Spirit is at work protecting and guiding him and encouraging me. At night, away from the artificial light of the world, the sky in the desert displays the brillance of the stars and the planets--God's glorious realm in the heavenly places. I believe with all my heart because he is my son and I know his soul, that in his own strength, things will not change, but through faithful prayers of many and God's will, mountains will move and hearts will proclaim His goodness and stars will shine into eternity on the day God does a work in his heart.
He moved mountains for me and in the moving of those hard places, one can see the evidence of surrender, the patterns of grace and the shape and color of love formed by the Creator himself. The bubbling lava of sin, shame, regret and grief, is now a vessel, a usable tool for His glory.
For the next few days, the USGS has issued an earthquake advisory for So. California. With over 140 "seismic events" recorded since Monday along the San Andreas Fault, (which also runs through Joshua Tree) this prediction warns us to be prepared in the event of the inevitable, the shaking up and realigning of the earth's crust.
Sometimes God has to do that...shake us up, and show us where we need realigning, teach us how to do just that. It's a slow process. Joshua Tree, formed by volcanic activity, molten rock intruding into hardened rock, is very visible and the unique shapes and stacking is truly magnificent. God has a plan for each and every one of us.
Jesus, I pray to be a part of the plan, not in the way of Your plan. I ask for your molten blood to intrude and form a new shape in a hardened heart. Bring about change in a varied and vulnerable young man like the beautiful desert we explored. Converge your vast will and sovereignty together and create a unique and powerful formation in my son. Let him grow up, towards Your Light. When anger boils over and pressure cracks at the surface, show us the shade and hydration of Your oasis of truth and purpose. Teach us Lord to honor you and set You apart and be a witness with kindness and gentleness, preserving the wonder You have created us to be. I pray this for our sons and daughters in the wilderness and for ourselves, traveling the road of faith that offers strength and hope around every turn. Thank you Lord for your magnificent Creation and the lessons we learn and the inspiration it brings. Amen.