An Advent Journey: Reflections for Weary Travelers — Day Seventeen

IMG_5988 fire at night

photo by Matt Erickson, Monday night, December 11, 2017, from West Beach, Santa Barbara, looking over the wharf toward the fire in Carpinteria

Habakkuk 3:13-19, NRSV

You came forth to save your people,
to save your anointed.
You crushed the head of the wicked house,
laying it bare from foundation to roof. Selah
You pierced with their own arrows the head of his warriors,
who came like a whirlwind to scatter us,
gloating as if ready to devour the poor who were in hiding.
You trampled the sea with your horses,
churning the mighty waters.

I hear, and I tremble within;
my lips quiver at the sound.
Rottenness enters into my bones,
and my steps tremble beneath me.
I wait quietly for the day of calamity
to come upon the people who attack us.

Though the fig tree does not blossom,
    and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
    and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
    and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
and makes me tread upon the heights.

Here in Santa Barbara, we are living through a time when we ‘tremble within’ a great deal. This latest fire is the biggest one I’ve ever seen in my long life in this desert of a state. We’ve had some scary moments. Our home is not in danger, but the one that used to be ours (that we still own and is now leased by our son and his family) remains in the evacuation zone as I write this. Our loved ones are safe, living in their trailer over the hill (and commuting to work, as needed — every school district within 35 miles has cancelled classes for the rest of the year). But so many others are threatened. So these words from dear old Habakkuk hearten me in the midst of it. The smoke is thick enough to do harm to our lungs, the ashy residue covers our back patio and drifts down continuously. And yet . .  though the smoke rise, the ashes fall and the flames snap and terrorize, I will rejoice in the Lord.

Help me to rejoice in you, even in the hardest moments of this life I live. Thank you for your presence, for small signs of beauty, even now, for the encouragement of friends and the bravery of fire fighters. Even here, on the edge of the apocalypse, your presence shines out around us. Thank you!

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  1. So very thankful to know your loved ones are safe, Diana! I will keep you all in prayer, my friend.