Oh blessed St. John! He’s for sure one of my favorite biblical people and prophets. He was a little wild and crazy… stripped down. He wore hardly any clothing and ate bugs and lived in the desert. What an interesting guy!
My reflection this week, based on the gospel reading, asked me to reflect on a time in my own life where I was “stripped down” and encountered God in my own personal desert.
Immediately what came to mind was the time not so long ago, 13 years to be exact, when my parents died and I got divorced. I found myself utterly alone in life. Well, I did have a cat and a dog and that is not small comfort I assure you. But other than that cat and that dog… alone.
I was broke and broken. Stripped down for sure.
I went to buy groceries one day knowing I was already negative in my account but I needed food. I would get paid at the end of the week and it would all balance back out. This is how I’d been living for a while.
I saw a bunch of pink flowers that were so pretty. I really wanted them. Something unexplainable sparked within my soul at the sight of these flowers. Maybe I was reaching for God through beauty?
I walked up and down the aisle struggling about whether to buy these flowers. They were only $3 but it was $3 I didn’t have. I have always been such a responsible person. My inner dialogue was telling me, “You need food! You have no money! Forget the flowers!”
But my soul was whispering, “get the flowers. You need beauty and love. Trust in God to take care of you.”
My soul won out! I walked over and put the flowers in my cart. No sooner had I done this than the guy who was stocking more flowers asked if I wanted this huge bouquet of white roses!
“They’re damaged. We can’t use them.” And he handed them to me. I didn’t see one damaged rose, but I took them gratefully.
He then hollered as I was walking away, amazed by God’s grace, and gave me 3 more bunches of flowers. It was almost more than what would fit in my cart.
I could clearly hear God saying, “ See what happens when you trust in me? I will give you far more than what you ask for.” I could also feel God’s love and provision surrounding that moment and I knew I would be okay. The cashier even commented at check out, “What lovely flowers!”
I wanted to shout, “I know! God gave them to me!”
Instead I said, "Thank you," and left the store.
Whatever desert you are going through, be grateful. It is in the deserts of our journey that we encounter God most splendidly and most clearly.