Tuesday, August 17, 2010
It has been my experience that one doesn't wake up in the middle of the desert, parched and blinded by viewing miles and miles of nothing but sand. No, it's a gradual journey. We take one step off the cool grassy path. Then another. And another. We look around, pause to catch our breath and realize we are bone dry, sand in our ears and eyes, throat raw from lack of water.
The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow" (Isaiah 35:6-8 NIV).
"For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants" (Isaiah 44:2-4).
"but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:13-15).
"The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life" (Revelation 22:16-18 NIV).
Throughout my life, I've run smack into the desert many times - deep into it; so far in, I've looked around, frantic, unable to see a way out. I've spent many a sandy day and countless sandy night roaming in the desert--feeling desperate and hopeless. These days, though, I try to keep my eye on the oasis--just ahead. It's not going anywhere -- just waiting for me to take that next step . . . one step . . . then another.
More often than I care to admit, I am dragging myself there . . . clutching handfuls of sand toward the water that will quench me--that always quenches me--the only water that can quench me.
I don't like being in a spiritual desert, but I understand now that God does His finest work there. The sand abrades all the my rough, imperfect propensities. It polishes and shines, erodes and reshapes me to the form and vision God has for me. I'm learning not to panic in the desert, but rather to continually ask Jesus for the living water only He can offer.
I thank God for that water--it is life-sustaining. It is the only water that satisfies. Jesus offers it at the oasis. Jesus IS the oasis. He's had some desert time of His own and that is how I know He understands my thirst. It was in the desert that God's vision for His life became clear. It was in the desert that He came to fully grasp the breadth of His strength and the depth of His fortitude.
After crossing the desert, the water tastes especially cool and sweet. Join me as I quench my thirst at the oasis--Jesus Christ.
Blessings on your journey,