Signposts: Daily Devotions

Saturday, January 10

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
—Isaiah 58:11

People of all faiths know about parched places. These are the times in our lives when we are drained, spent, dry as dust. We don’t know how we are going to keep going, and we lose interest in the things that used to give us joy. We may become depressed, angry, sad, or all three at once.  

No one wants to live like that, and yet many of us live in ways that make those parched places inevitable. We simply do too much. We say yes to commitments and responsibilities even though our schedules are already cramped. Our calendars or date books are filled with meetings, car pools, breakfast, lunch and dinner dates—not to mention commitments to long-term projects. We begin to think (though won’t admit) that if we don’t do it, it won’t get done.  We take on more and more, even of GOOD things, until we wake up one day utterly exhausted, parched.  

A wonderful woman I know told me a story once that I have never forgotten. She worked in a book store, and loved her job. During the Christmas season, however, she was on her feet all day, walking around the store, talking to customers. 

One afternoon she went home from work and got dressed for a Christmas party that she and her husband had been looking forward to attending. “It was the strangest thing,” she told me. “I was glad to see everyone, and it was a beautiful party. But someone came up to me and started a conversation, and do you know what?  Nothing would come! Nothing. I couldn’t think of a single thing to say.”   

When I asked what the rest of the evening was like, she laughed.  “I don’t know what it was like at the party. I went home!” 

She is the one I want to emulate; she has the wisdom to know when to stop, when to go home. And because she can stop, she can experience the refreshment of living water the psalmist speaks about. God refreshes us, God gives us living water, but we must stop, quit, go home.

Gracious God, help me today to STOP. Help me to breathe deeply, to sit quietly, to drink deeply of the wellspring of your presence. Make me like a watered garden, rested and nourished by your love. Amen.