For a time. in between formal communications jobs, I had my own consulting business. The first two years were good ones, but then a recession caught up with me and business dried up. It didn’t disappear, but it became very, very difficult; jobs were few and far between.
In our Sunday School class, we shared what was going on and asked for prayer. Some weeks later, an envelope containing three hundred dollars inside of a card showed up in mail. No name. Just a $300 gift.
We were not in dire financial straits. But we were discouraged. And that $300 gift was a blessing far beyond the amount of the money. It was finding a little oasis in the desert.
We have each experienced desert times –when everything seems pointless, your body is close to exhaustion, you don’t think you can read one more newspaper without throwing up, an illness is more and more debilitating, a family problem that seems never to be resolved, a crisis in faith or hope. We’ve each been there, and likely more than once.
Life is not easy.
In Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears, Margaret Feinberg talks about those desert times, and how important finding those springs in the desert can be. While she’s struggling with the side effects of chemotherapy, she receives a reference to the Book of Judges, the story Othniel and how he wins the hand of Caleb’s daughter, Achsah. After they’re married, she asks her father for a piece of thriving land in the desert, one with springs of water. And Caleb complies, giving her and her husband both lower and upper springs – an assured supply and more than she asked for.
Feinberg is able to find her own springs of water, one of which was a Bill Cosby concert in Vermont. These springs are vital for all of us; they are what keep us going when we face trials, problems, and situations that we hope are problems and not conditions that have to be endured.
As many times as I’ve read the Book of Judges, I did not remember the story of Othniel and Achsah. It’s right there in the first chapter, verses 11 to 15 (Feinberg paraphrases it as only a storyteller can). What I did remember was that Othniel eventually became one of the “Judges” or rulers.
Those springs of water worked well for him, too.
Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been reading Fight Back with Joy. To see more posts on this chapter, “One Prayer You Don’t Pray But Should,” please visit Sarah at Living Between the Lines.
Photograph: Desert Oasis via Wikipedia.