I loved living in the desert. I miss the wide open spaces with blue sky all around. While reading in Psalm 119, I was reminded of this beautiful land that I miss.
and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts. Psalm 119:45.
The Psalmist loved the Law of the LORD. I love reading Psalm 119. Through all of life it’s the law, the way of God, His precepts, commandments…. that he loves and that drives him forward in his pursuit of God. He has a relationship that is real and personal with God. The Message puts it this way, in verses 44 & 45,
Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me, guard it now, guard it ever; And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
Rio Grande in New Mexico Bike MS 2015
We were visiting a church several years ago. During the worship these lyrics jumped out at me, “All of my deserts are rivers of joy.” I mentioned I love the desert. And when I look back at my time of physically living in the Southwest I see rivers of joy.
I was reminded of John 14:12 this morning where Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (New Living Translation). God intends for each of us to be moving toward greatness. He tells us here in John that we will do even greater works… but we must believe in him… Even in the times of desert living.
Our lives have the propensity to become messy. Everything about each one of us is not perfect. Yet we try hard to make our lives look neat. We want to make everything look perfect. We attend churches with stained glass windows and/or churches with rock bands filling the room with great music, lights, and dry ice… all looking and sounding good. But when it’s all torn down what really remains? Hopefully, in both situations, relationships are being built so that when the stain glass windows and the music fades that the heart of it all will still be standing.
After having lived in the beautiful Southwest, I understand that there is a lot of life in the desert. For me, its a beautiful place that is open with great views all around. To some the land may look barren but it’s really wide open spaces full of excitement. So much has adapted and been created to sustain life there. I believe we will each spend our time in the desert of life. It’s not a place we should avoid but rather take advantage of. It’s there, in the stillness of the desert, we can draw close to God. It’s a place for us to be able to sit back and enjoy looking into the face of God and keep our focus steadfast on Him.
The desert at night is breath-taking! The first time I ever stopped on New Mexico HWY 550, in between Albuquerque and Aztec, I realized I couldn’t see one foot in front of me due to the darkness. But I could see more of God’s creation in the sky than I have before. I never would have seen the beauty above me had I kept my focus on the darkness in front of me… I had to look up. When we find ourselves in a desert place with darkness all around it’s not until we look up to God that we will see His glory.
Romans 5:2 in The Message says it best,
We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand – out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
If you find yourself today in a land that is dryer than you would like keep your eyes on Jesus. Look to him and him alone for your joy. We will not find joy looking in any other direction. Feeling a little dry? Want someone to pray with you? Just leave a comment, “In need of prayer”. I’d be happy to pray for you.