Days of blistering heat and boredom. Nights of bitter cold and silence. And the word that flew a distant memory. The dark comes suddenly in the desert. Before you know it, the blackness is utter. Complete. The only sound the trickle of the wadi, slower now but still just enough. Always just enough.
How many days here at Cherith? Days of isolation broken only by the coming of the ravens. Unclean, it is true, yet strangely heartwarming for one so deep in the wilderness. And how many days longing for human voice yet strangely glad that none comes? How many times tempted to stride off towards a town, to escape the silent relentless? Mornings of white brightness seeming as dark to weak eyes. Afternoons chasing the shade as it moves from one side of the cutting to the other. Hidden from the plots of men, from the strife of tongues. His canopy a covering, the secret of his face.
A place of shaping, yes. Cutting too. Facing the knife and not turning away. Of stripping all identity but the name he gives. It had hurt but it was good…and it was not yet done. Left with an ache that could break the heart in two. A longing to turn you inside out. Soul a geyser scarcely to uncap lest it never be brought under control again.
A place of provision too. In the removal of all human possibility, supernatural supply. Embracing the nothing because it precedes the something of bread and meat. Celebrating the little of the wadi because it is even so enough. In it all remembering the One before whom you stand.
And after Cherith?
After Cherith would it ever be the same again? When the soul would come up out of the desert leaning on its beloved, baptism in the untamed God much deeper now, would it still belong in the courts of men? Maybe then, after the cutting and the isolation and the waiting, it would have become wild, speaking fire and rain and slaughter. And, after the shaping and the silence and the tenderness, would there be perhaps words of wild gentleness too?
This piece is a part of a series of creative reflections on the prophet Elijah and his experiences as he stood before the LORD the God of Israel, especially in 1 Kings 17-18.