Driving along the well-worn rural highway, I caught my breath at the scenery before me. The lush desert on the way to the lake was in charred ruin. Multiple wildfires had obliterated the landscape in this area for miles. I wiped a tear from the corner of my eye as I drove on in disbelief at the desolate wilderness.
The crimson crowned Ocotillo that once scattered the mountainside became stick-figure shadows, wilting in a slump. The land that stretched beyond depicted a science-fiction-like moonscape. Eerie white ash was scattered amongst charred mesquite trees and skeletons of prickly pear cactus. I can hear the sound within the confines of my car.
This is what it sounds like when the earth groans.
Once fresh green carpet upon the mountains has turned to charcoal. Grotesque branches reach heavenward, branches naked, screaming in agony against the unforgiving, sweltering sun and the lingering smoke that settles like a mist. Soot is the shabby blanket of the homeless garden, starving to be regenerated.
“For we know that all creation has been groaning as in pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:22
This past year we have experienced groanings such as these. Desolation. Barren from company. Naked in our lack of control. Some of you literally fought fires on your land. All of us fought the daily fires of sickness, division, and uncertainty for our future—flames of depression, loneliness, addiction, and grief.
This is what groanings in the deep caverns of the heart sound like.
A friend had recalled a devastating wildfire about 2 1/2 decades ago in the same general location. As strange as it sounds, hope landed on this old, groaning heart.
You see, even though twenty some odd years ago a lush landscape had suffered devastation, it had come back to life. It reseeded, budded, and flourished. I will attest to the spectacular beauty that awed tourists flocking to see the bountiful and vibrant wildflowers the previous year.
The majestic saguaros wore crowns of sprinkled white buds with lively, rich poppies carpeting their feet. Floral color scattered the desert with new life. The greenery of spring was a refreshment to the soul. It stirs me to realize destruction does not last forever.
This desolate wilderness was abundantly reborn!
Mathew 6:26-34 and Job 12:7-10 remind me of God’s care of the earth and all creatures. “God clothes the grass and field” with beautiful wildflowers. “The grass is living today, but tomorrow it is thrown into the fire to be burned.” It is tended by the Father for reseeding and renewal for the future. How much more He cares for us! The debris is burned off, but the best parts of us are spared to begin anew.
As we reach our dry, brittle limbs up to the Lord with groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26), the Lord already sees. He hears. He has begun the process to rebuild us and make us renewed for the next season of our lives.
I look forward to the refreshment we are sure to see on the desert floor in years to come. I also look forward to the new landscape The Lord is planting in you and in me. Difficulties will ebb and flow, but challenges will resolve in the waiting. Life might burn us and get a little ugly and lonely for a bit.
The reward is a rebirth of abundance, brought forth from the groanings of our hearts!
Catherine resides, with her husband, Ian, in the small mining town of Globe, Arizona. The tug on her heart is to share with others how she overcame her greatest battles in life by groaning with the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to lead her to find a life with peace and joy! She seeks to honor God by providing encouragement, support, and hope for women struggling with their own life altering struggles.
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