Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
(Psalm 32:1, NLT)
The dry sand blasts my face again as another icy gust of wind whips around me in a frenzy. I clamp my eyes shut, trying to keep them from filling up with grit. Despite my feeble attempts to cover them with a cloth, sand works its way into both my mouth and nose.
I stumble along, shoulders hunched against the onslaught. Eventually the gust will die down, I just have to press through it. I clench my teeth and keep moving. I peek an eye open to a slit, shielding it from the wind and sand with one hand. Still no signs of any shelter. Such a miserable place. Empty. Forsaken. I squeeze my eye shut again and carefully shuffle my feet as I go. Small stones jostle and tumble around them. My right foot catches a bigger rock. I stop, move around it and shuffle forward again.
The winds die down as quickly as they rose. As soon as the sand settles, I remove the cloth and take a deep breath. I shake it to knock out the dust and sand and shove it in my pocket. I look around. I am not on any road. I am not anywhere. Desolation spreads out all around me. Brown. Dry. Cold. I could go in any direction. Or I could just not go anywhere. Does it matter? But I can’t stand still. I start walking. I have to press on to somewhere. But where? When will it end?
When you choose to turn back.
I stop. What? I spin around. I don’t see anyone. I listen. But I hear nothing else.
I decide I am hearing things and start walking again. How long have I been walking? Time seems to make no sense. Nothing to mark it. Nothing to change it. Again I ask, when will it end?
When you choose to confess.
I stop again. Confess? My heart clenches. But no. I cannot. It’s too big. Too hard. Too impossible.
Nothing is impossible with me.
I tilt my head for a moment and consider the notion. I shake my head. No, it is impossible. Not this thing. Not this time.
I look around. Maybe I’m going in the wrong direction. I angle my steps to the right and pick up my pace. I can move quickly until the next blast…
The wind whipped up quicker than before, blasting sand everywhere. I yank the cloth out of my pocket and slap it over my nose and mouth. I clamp my eyes shut again, hunch my shoulders and press forward. Definitely stronger than the ones before. I barely make any progress, not that I could tell anyway. When the wind dies down, everything still looks the same. Nothingness stretches out forever in all directions.
Turn to me now, while there is time.
Turn? Turn where? I turn in a slow circle. Nothing changes.
Turn your heart.
I clench my eyes shut, as if they are being pummeled by sand again. Could I really? Could I turn my heart back? But I know better. Surely this time it’s different. He had to be furious. Fed up. Tired of dealing with me. I look around at my bleak and dismal surroundings. I deserve to be here. I start walking again, slowly, knowing another blast will come again, whatever my pace.
I love you.
My heart skips a beat. Really? I want desperately to believe it. But how could He? Surely love must have its limits. I keep walking.
I love you.
It can’t really be that simple. Can it?
But my heart is…
I can give you a new heart.
And I made such a mess of things. I’ve lost so…
I can restore what has been lost
I have more arguments. But they seem empty. Still, I can’t bring myself to accept the possibility. I shake my head again and quicken my pace.
A terrible roar fills the cold air. It sounds… hungry. I frantically look about. Where did it come from? I must be crazy to think I can stay here. I pause.
I expect a another reply to my thoughts. But receive only silence.
Can I really turn back? Confess? Can I turn my heart?
I sigh. Ok. Yes. I can’t stay here. I want to come back. I close my eyes and whisper the thing. I tell it all. I claim it and release it. I don’t want it anymore. Tears stream down my face, carrying away the dirt covering my cheeks.
A warm breeze, like a caress, touches my skin.
I open my eyes. Joy hits me like a cleansing wave. The desert is gone. In its place…
I am merciful and compassionate. I love you with an unfailing love.
I look around. Words cannot describe. I smile.
Father, You are merciful and compassionate. What joy there is for me because my disobedience is forgiven, and my sin has been removed. As far as the east is from the west so far do You remove my sins from me. Thank You for Your great love.
Grace & Peace