Facebook is currently obsessed with pumpkin spice everything.
Fall is in the air on the other side of the world, and all the snuggly flavors and colors and smells to go with it make me dream of curling up into an oversized chair with an oversized mug of snuggle and taking a dramatic, feel-good, cinnamon flavored deep breath. Friends in America rejoice as the heat of summer gets turned down and the holiday festivities begin to start up.
This time of the year feels slightly less snuggly in South Africa.
It’s that time of year.
It’s the time where the entire country seems to hit the slump of weariness from the hard work of surviving, and even the sky starts to cry. The rain begins and ushers in the summertime infantry of creepers and crawlers in the cottage. In the communities, discontentment and drudgery start just enough grumbles for wildfires and riots to explode. And everyone seems to just try to make it until the country shuts itself down in December.
My silent blog is a symptom of a disillusioned heart. It seems like the wildness and weariness of the land are overtaking all these heart-sown seeds and all these beautiful people. It feels like I’ve poured my heart and soul into the everlasting promises I believe into a land that is destined to turn on an axis of chronic chaos.
When I look around, though spring flowers are blooming, I see tired, backsliding people.
We’ve crossed a million milestones this year.
We’ve done a hundred happy dances and eaten at least that many pieces of cake.
We clear away the crumbs, and we slip and we slide.
As I run out of strength and words and vision, I cry out to the anchor for my soul. I prayed this week for vision... for something. Because “where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18 AKJV) And I felt like I was perishing.
My Vision and my Anchor reminded me of the words that have been there all along.
“My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land… I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run…
…But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”
Exodus 23:23, 27, 29, 30
What if it’s not really backsliding?
What if it’s just really good love?
What if He’s just a really faithful God even when my vision is blurred because I’m looking the wrong way?
The land is good and is made for a crazy-good, snuggly, overflowing cornucopia of greatness, abundance… of REAL LOVE. Not just the love I know how to look for.
There’s promise for this land.
There was another Promised Land in which a lot more people spent a lot more time slaving, fighting, walking, praying, wandering, hoping, crying, battling and backsliding toward. Finally, when they made it to the great SHEBANG and crossed over miracle-style into the land of milk and honey, the glory of God came down and said…
…Wait for it…
I love you so much that you can’t have it all right now.
I love you so much that you have to keep fighting battles.
I love you so much you have to keep losing a little bit so you can gain a whole lot.
I love you so much I won’t give you the whole wide world today because the whole wide world is just too wild for you today.
I love you so much I want you to require me, to beg me for my vision, and to bring me to every battle line.
I love you so much I’ll let you backslide until you find me.
There are too many wild animals in the land.
There are too many severed families, defeated hearts and broken bodies.
There are too many loud sounds, and all the people would not be able to hear the battle cry or the victory shouts yet.
So maybe backsliding is really just backtracking to get back to the real vision, the real promises, the real love.
What if love was a rodeo?
8 seconds at a time.
One hand up high. One hand holding tight.
When we are released out of that chute into the arena, we fix our everything on the battle before us, never losing our ability to hear that victory buzzer.
Then we wait for the next go-round.
We wear our shiny belt buckles to remember the wins while we go into the next one.
One bull and battle at a time, we hold on.
He knows the grand prize that awaits us, and He wants no one to miss out. He won’t let the wild animals overtake us, even when we think we just want to take on the whole rodeo in 8 seconds and get it over with.
Real love holds on tight and rides 8 seconds at a time. Real love gets dirty, gets hurt and gets bucked. Real love holds on to what’s real.
So, today, I am just holding on. And counting on that real, good love that is better than I can understand.
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown.”