My entire life has been spent in the Southeastern United States. In the South we have green grass, rolling hills, and lots of trees. In Tennessee roads tend to be hilly and curvy, limiting your view to what’s directly ahead. You never know what dangers might lurk around the next curve.
In the Midwest, however, the land is flat and devoid of trees. You can literally see for miles in every direction. You can also drive for miles and miles without coming upon exits or rest stops. It gives you a lonely, destitute feeling as you worry whether you have enough gas and water to make it to the next stop.
Every evening in the desert we have been hit by dramatic thunder storms. Long before we approach the storms, we witness the dark clouds and warning flashes of light. We know bad weather is ahead and hope we might bypass it, but eventually we find ourselves in the midst of drenching rains and powerful lighting. Fortunately, the storms are shortlived and we continue on our way.
As the sun falls each night, we find ourselves in complete darkness save the car lights. Then, just when we think we’ll never again see civilization, we spot in the far distance the beaconing lights of an upcoming town offering food, gas, and lodging. We have no idea how far away it might be, but we have the assurance that hospitality is in our near future.
Much of our lives is spent like the Tennessee roads. We can only see where we’re at and what’s in our immediate future.
Sometimes we’re in the vast dry wilderness feeling alone and isolated. We see upcoming storms and we pray they’ll pass us by, but sometimes, despite our best efforts, the storms hit us face on. And then, after we’ve gone through the storms and we feel like we’ve been in the desert forever, we spot light ahead and we know that God has heard our cries and He’s offering us his sheltering hospitality. How much more we can appreciate the lights and love after our journey through the darkness, wilderness, and storms.