When you open your eyes, the sun sears your first thoughts, blinding them out of your brain. Sand under your skin, scratching down to your blood, the whistle of wind blowing nothing to nothing. You’ve been here before, in the desert waste of a soul that once knew God is love—and somewhere in it, knows this still—but has been drained of the lifeline that connects reason to heart. And you lie there for a while, staring into a stark and cloudless sky, feeling numbed as a piece of driftwood left too long from the ocean. Whittled to a whisper of whatever greater good you came from, wondering if there is cause enough to get up and keep walking. But you’ve been here before, and there is strange comfort in that: at least you know where you are, and if you’ve made your way out once, you can do so again. And so, you stand up, stiff and creaking, wrap a shawl across your mouth to keep from breathing too much in, and you walk—knowing never where you’re going or when Jesus will show up, but knowing also that evil is never more in danger than when the luster of belief has burned out—faith as feathered ash, without a single spark or ember—and still, you choose to trust your God.