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Dry Seasons

Numbers 33:9 &14
And they set out from Marah and came to Elim; at Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. … And they set out from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.

It’s been a rough month or so at our home due to stubborn illnesses that just won’t abate. What started as a 12-day respiratory virus turned into a week-long sinus infection, then passed the baton off to COVID, and then, insult to injury, my son came down with a four-day fever, which we’re now washing down with the worst virus of them all: the stomach flu. So far, it’s been passed from Micah to my wife to my daughter, which means that right now, as I sit to write this, my stomach’s churning at the thought that my turn’s coming. I feel so sluggish and tired and uninspired. Those summer hikes up White Top Mountain and cold swims in Elk Creek and football games with the neighborhood kids feel like a lifetime ago. Nevertheless, that amber alert on my phone just a moment ago, telling me that some precious child has just been stolen from his parents, and the news of Christians in Muslim territories who’ve just been stripped from their homes, and the pictures on the news of entire towns being decimated by hurricane floods reminds me that my present illness is not comparable to the suffering that others are facing right now. But even more than that, Rephidims aren’t near as tough as the Refuge we find through them.

Don’t we wish every stage of our pilgrimage was Elim? Full of springs and palm trees, like an oasis in the barren wilderness world? Yet, even if the landscape of your life today feels shrouded in illness or joblessness or just the haze of depression, the Father’s cup of mercy still runs to overflowing! Even the driest, most devastating sorrows can become your most profoundly transformative and redemptive chapters of spiritual advancement if you let Jesus pour His strength into your weakness.

So friend, look back through memory’s record at the Elims and Rephidims you’ve been through thus far; reflect on the shade of those fruitful palms and the shadows of those barren ridges, and thank God for being by your side through them all.