Monday, January 09, 2012

Rain drops in the desert

Rain doesn't usually fall in a desert. By definition a desert receives less than ten inches of rain a year. Deserts are dry and dusty places, void of life and beauty (at least to the casual observer). But, deserts hold their own unique beauty. And when rains fall, deserts spring to life; flowers bloom, grasses grow, cacti swell to unimaginable sizes. Desert dwellers know how to make the most of rain drops in the desert.

Because deserts are arid places, the natural flora and fauna are prepared for dry times. They must be, or they will die. Some plants sink roots down (sometimes several feet) to tap into deeply buried underground aquifers. Other plants have adapted in more creative and resourceful ways. Peoples native to arid lands know all the tricks for finding water in less-than-obvious places. The desert is, for them, a comfortable and welcoming home.

Christians tend to be surprised by deserts. To store up water in anticipation of days without rain or long periods of dryness does not come naturally. Instead of sinking roots down deep, or learning how to find water in unexpected places, discouragement, even frustration marks our journey. How easy it is to miss out on the blessings and beauty such an experience can provide.

As my sojourn in the desert continues, God is beginning to open my eyes to some of the treasures in this seemingly barren land. Like a plant who has learned to store water in anticipation of long periods without rain, I am learning to embrace my sandy home. It is not what I have chosen (or even desired), but it is where I have been "planted." Now we'll see if I can bloom.

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