Oh how I miss living in the desert…
For too long now I have been living in a spiritual desert. I’ve been camped out under the same rock trying to shield myself from the scorching heat of my stuckness. I understand it’s time to journey on and explore this desert I find myself in. I’m not sure what I have gained here while camped out underneath this rock but I know one day I will find meaning and understanding for this season. One thought I am beginning to grasp is the need to rise above the mediocre and move toward the greatness God has destined.
We were visiting a church several weeks 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 look forward to looking back at this season of life and saying the same thing.
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.
Thanks to Richard “Richee” Parks for the photo!