Earlier this year, some friends and I were on 17-Mile Drive in Monterey (a scenic road christened by a lazy thinker). Somehow, we got lost along the way. We pulled over to a side road to regroup, and a stranger in another car rolled down her window and told us to look for the red line and then drove off.
“What red line?” we asked each other. “Did she mean yellow line?” (since yellow lines are the ubiquitous road markers for narrow, windy roads). However, sure enough, as soon as we got back onto the main road, we started seeing red lines everywhere. It turns out that 17-Mile Drive is dotted with red lines to help tourists stay on the path. They’re hard to see—until you know they’re there. We never saw them before—but as soon as we knew that we should look, of course they kept coming up.
What if faith is like that? You can think you know where you’re going…but it’s not until a moment of revelation, which can come from a fellow traveler or when you look at the guidebook with fresh eyes (yes, as we later discovered, the cover of the tourist brochure said there were red lines!) that you realize how your path has been undergirded by the Way all along.
Someone once encouraged me, “First…we meet each other as children of God and then just trust in Him to order our steps.” This sentiment was so beautiful to me. I love the image of God’s word as a lamp to our feet. I don’t need to know/can’t ever know the biggest big picture—but as a child of God, I can trust that, though I don’t have a set of numbered Google map directions of my life’s course, I know where I’m going and who I’ll be when I get there.
This year, I’ve been thinking about all the desert imagery in Scripture. The desert is where Hagar truly felt seen/known by God—and the desert (well, technically a ravine—but the rest of the land was in a drought) is where the Lord fed Elijah via ravens—a dramatic (and odd) example of Jehovah Jireh’s provision versus our own efforts.
When I think of deserts, I think of Joshua trees—those twisted testaments of endurance and of being “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Well, did you know that a crazy beautiful thing happened this April? This spring, the Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert and the Southwest started blooming in a way that no one has ever seen before. Whereas in years past, a visitor might encounter a single tree blooming—this year, all the trees—young and old—started blooming all at once! What an awe-inspiring and humbling vision of the Lord’s supernatural abundance and blessings, even in the midst of unimaginably grueling conditions…
Beloved Father/ precious lover/ dearest friend
Even blooming Joshua trees
drenched in grace
can’t grasp your glory
What can I speak
to the one who leaves me
All that’s left to say
is you are home to me
and I am welcome here