It is Monday as I type this, 1702 to be precise (5:02pm if you’re not crazy), and I find myself in an ocean in the midst of a desert. I preached yesterday at the Camp Wilson chapel to the various units stationed here for their piece of the EMV training that is both on-going for some and about to start for others. A bit of scripture that every Marine is familiar with (though perhaps not in a good way, as it is tradition to read it at every memorial service) is the 23rd Psalm. This was to be my topic, green pastures in the midst of the valley of the shadow.
There is a quiet peace here in this place as my Marines are on the verge of going to war, for many of them back to war. And on the edge of this eventuality, I find myself reading the Word more, meditating on God more and generally settling into a quiet contentment in His blessings in the midst of the understanding that a desert in a foreign land will mark the rest of 2011 for myself and my Marines.
The first thoughts I had of this place were not the standard thoughts one would imagine having when being sent to the desert, but rather the grandeur of this place hit home and all that crossed my mind was God’s tapestry of creation comes in many colors. Thoughts such as these have continually crossed my mind here, from having conversation with a few of the officers in my Battalion, to a fellow chaplain, to a lay leader from a unit I don’t even know – God is revealing himself to me in ways and in places I never thought to see Him. This is supposed to be the desert. We store up for, we plan for, and we study hard before days such as these so that we can endure, so that we can put up with, survive through times such as these. And so I’m reminded again that His ways are not our ways.
A few weeks back I referred to the wellspring and now I stand corrected. In reality what wells up within as we allow God to consume us is more like an ocean. So as I sit here physically parched from the sun in the desolation of this place, in reality I’m becoming saturated in the ocean of God.
It is in the deserts of life that we see the ocean because I think only at the end of all things do we truly start seeking His face.
He draws us
Into the rest of God
Never believe for a moment that in the hardest most desolate moments of your life that God is not speaking, perhaps the reason you can’t see the ocean in the desert is because you’re too busy staring at your feet.