I’m in a dry desert valley. All around me I see the bones of those who have been here and didn’t make it.  I can hear the anguished cries of the barely alive who have given up and are telling me to do the same.  I can see the ones digging ditches with bleeding hands and praying for rain to come fill those ditches.

It’s hot here, like fire.  I expect that at any moment I could burst into flames.  The ground is spider webbed with cracks going in all directions.   There are no trees or plants whose roots could grow and soften the dirt beneath my feet.  No shade to give relief from the blaze of the sun.  It’s just hard, dry, hot ground.

I’m already tired.  I’m worn from the sounds of the crying and the rattle of bones.   I can hardly stand to see the blood dripping from the ditch diggers.  It practically covers them.  It’s as if they have a never ending supply of it that’s just seeping from their pores and down to the blades of their shovels.  It’s perplexing though.  The diggers, that is.  They don’t sweat.  They don’t cry.  They don’t even look hot.  They just dig and bleed and smile. They smile.  Sometimes I even hear them sing.

I consider the craziness of the ditch diggers; wondering what has happened to put them in this horrible place and why are they smiling and singing?  Blood is pouring out of them for God’s sake.  How could they be so happy?

This must be where the human spirit goes when it’s time to give up and the soul is wounded beyond recognition.  Isn’t that why I’m here?  Haven’t I gone down that road?  Isn’t that why they are here?

And then softly, as if it was just a memory deep in my mind I hear the word, “dig”.   It’s a gentle command spoken not just to my ears, but to my gut.  “Dig”.   Calling me, inviting me, compelling me to pick up a shovel and dig.  And the inside most part of me, the part deeper than my heart and mind, screamed a silent “yes”!  And from my gut came a bud of hope…so I began to dig.

I’m in the desert valley.  All around me I see the bones of those that have been here and didn’t make it.  I can hear the anguished cries of those barely alive that have given up.   And I see the ditch diggers too.  I am them.  It’s hot and it’s dry and I’m digging ditches because I know that it’s going to rain.  He has spoken to me.  It. Is. Going. To. Rain.  There is no doubt.  He has poured out his blood to cover me and cool me.  It seeps from my every pore.  As I dig, it runs down the shovel protecting my hands from blisters and keeping the blade of my shovel smooth as if it was polished with oil.  The ground is hard, but he has gone before me to soften it.  My arms get tired, but He is behind me with his arms wrapped around mine helping me push the shovel into the dirt.  I’m digging my ditch alone, but He is on either side of me with a shovel that can dig far deeper than mine.  I feel faint, yet He is beneath me keeping my feet on solid ground.  I need rest and He is the rock I rest on.  I look up and He is there too.   He hovers above me scaring away the scavengers that want to pick the flesh from my bones.  He sings to me and with me and becomes my voice when I have no words.  He is the smile on my face and the hope within me.  He dances over me and is the breeze that refreshes me. He is the one who will save me and heal my wounded soul.  He will renew my spirit and be my joy.  He is the reason I dig.

It’s hot and dry here in this desert valley.  But I’m digging ditches because it’s going to rain.