The truck eased off the highway and came to a stop in a cloud of dust. It was day five of our cross-country road trip, towing our new home behind us, and our tank was nearing empty—both literally and figuratively. Nevada stretched before us, reaching as far as our eyes could see. A narrow ribbon of road crossed an ocean of sand and scrubby sagebrush, eventually fading into the edge of a shimmering horizon. You could practically smell the heat on the dry breeze. It felt like trying to breathe with a hairdryer blowing in your face.
I herded kids and dog into the now-familiar routine of dog walking, gas pumping, coffee grabbing, snack choosing. Then, resigning ourselves to as many more hours on the road as we could take, we set sail once more across that ocean of desert. Darkness and exhaustion would soon force an overnight break, and we’d find a place to set up camp.
As we climbed back into the truck and out of the suffocating heat, I had an overwhelming wave of sympathy for the Israelites who wandered in the desert for forty years. I wasn’t sure I could take another forty minutes. This prompted a reflection of some of the metaphorical deserts I’d occasionally found myself wandering in the past.
The memory that stood out most was the night I found myself sobbing on the kitchen floor. My husband was in the throes of nursing school and was gone most of the time for classes, clinical shifts, and studying sessions. We were both working part-time jobs, but the bills were piling up and the money had run out. I had just been diagnosed with a couple of autoimmune disorders that made my normal daily activities physically exhausting. I was also obsessively researching and educating myself on our four-year-old’s recent autism diagnosis and all the therapies required. Oh, and potty-training a two-year-old.
I felt like I was drowning in a desert of quicksand. I cried out to God to show himself to me. I desperately wanted signs and wonders. But instead of rainbows or lightning strikes, I got a still, small voice.
That voice reminded me of Scripture long ago etched into my heart. Some were verses I didn’t even remember memorizing. They were just there, in the corners of my mind, waiting for such a time as this, a time when I needed them. He reminded me that I am never alone. He is always with me. He doesn’t fade away when my feelings do. When I couldn’t feel him by my side, I had to choose to cling to his promises, even if it was with my fingernails. He is true, and his promises are eternal…
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