Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Lent, Day 25: Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev.
This river, which flows through Chiloquin, Oregon, has as its source the waters of nearby Crater Lake. From somewhere beneath that lake, the near-icy waters flow miles underground to springs near Chiloquin, surface to form this stream, with waters so cold they preserve logs (look closely and you can see them) felled years before.
The psalmist sings of the streams of the Negev which flow after winter rains, temporary torrents that bring a tremendous amount of water but for only a brief time. The restoration they bring is vital but variable, which helps to make his point. For a time, they (the Israelites) had languished, just as the Judean wilderness, but God had restored them in a flood of gracious love. Now, the psalmist looks anew for this restoration, trusting that as God has provided in the past he will again. He likens it to the rhythm of sowing and harvesting, a rhythm our culture no longer remembers. When they have gone through their winter food supply and the seeds that remain must be planted rather than eaten, regardless of the hunger pains, they sow in sadness, trusting that the joys of the future harvest far surpass what would be only momentary surfeit of hunger.
The pilgrimage we are on to Good Friday, to die with Jesus, requires the assurance that somehow God will restore us, that while we now sow with tears, we will soon reap with joy.