“O God, you are my God;
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.”
Psalm 63:1 ESV
The desert is an interesting place. As we drove through the deserts of Namibia we got thirsty just looking out at the dry and dusty land, even though we had full water bottles safely by our side in the vehicle. In the game park, we would go through periods where we would see tons of animals all around, and then we might go for a whole hour seeing nothing but dust as we made our way on the bumpy roads. Those animal-less stretches seemed to drag on and I became so thankful when they would finally end and we would be reassured the desert doesn’t last forever.
It was so interesting to have the contrast of areas with so much life and variety and then long stretches of what seemed like a wasteland. Just when we would start to assume there was nothing that could live out there, the animals would start popping up again. They somehow found a way to make life work crossing from one end of the desert to the next and surviving on the hidden watering holes in between.
I often find myself surviving in a similar way when God is journeying with me through what feels like a spiritual desert, and teaching me how to depend on him. It may feel like my walk with Him is barely surviving day by day. I try to stay connected through the Word and prayer, but it seems I am hanging by a thread sometimes. God brings me through and refreshes me just when I need it in order to bring about true dependence on Him.
It was interesting for us to experience this in the landscape of Namibia. As we were leaving the game park, we continued to navigate through different types of desserts with that same eerie feeling of being one of the only living things looking out on vast and beautiful nothingness. Then, the road turned to sand, and when we thought we could hardly make it any further, we found water!
We had made it through the entire desert to a vast oasis as far as the eye could see! The air was cool and the ocean waves reassured us with each new tide that the desert was over. It would wipe the sand clean with each new stroke of the waves. Water had never seemed so refreshing as it was after journeying many hours through the desert.
Spiritually, I have experienced this as well. As the journey through a desert comes to a close as all journeys do, God can come in like a tidal wave. He is refreshing and exactly what I need after struggling to see, feel and be quenched by Him in the desert. Suddenly, times with Him have never been sweeter after enduring a time of absence or longing for His presence or His wisdom through a particular season.
Sometime we need that balance. We need to see our desperate need for Him in order to be truly satisfied in Him in the end.
Sure, it would have been fun to just fly to the beach and begin our vacation in the oasis, but I can’t help but know it couldn’t have been as awesome then to finally see the water for the first time. Sure, the water is great in and of itself, but knowing what it is like without helps us become aware that water is life. Jesus is life. May we embrace the deserts of life in order to rejoice in the ocean of His presence awaiting us on the other side.
“The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forward.”
Psalm 28:8-9 ESV
This week, join me in experiencing the ocean of God as our refuge in light of the deserts He has brought you through.