Home > spiritual formation > Even in the desert, a cactus blooms

Even in the desert, a cactus blooms

Big Bend

After being in west Texas, desert imagery is very much in my mind.  As I reflect on Psalm 107, vv4-9 talk about how God will lead those wandering in the desert to a place of refreshment where their thirst could be quenched and their hunger satisfied.  Verse 9 is perhaps my favorite verse in this Psalm.

Earlier this week, I made a post about the danger of getting what we have asked.  In the case of Israel and meat, God gave them what they wanted but then they became sick when they got it.

Why am I living in the desert when I could live near a spring?  In verses 33ff, God shows that he has the ability to turn the river that I think I have found into a desert wasteland.  He also can change the desert wasteland into a well watered, fruitful land.  Why does He do this?

I am not exactly sure but I think part of the answer lies in his loyal love–his faithful lovingkindness–because of his hesed, he loves to bless and gives good things.  Remember, He is the giver of all good things that we have (James 1:6).  He defines the very nature of goodness (Mark 10:18).  I had to admit last night that I do not always expect God to give me good things.  His nature of sheer goodness and love should generate in my a life-giving hope that cannot be quenched.

I know sometimes we must go through the desert experience to bring about a holy purification, a deepening and broadening. Maybe part of that desert experience is the discovery of how much we need God, of how small and unable I am to make good things (or anything for that matter) happen. Psalm 107 promises me that God responds to our brokenness, our tears in time of trouble and brings us into a well-watered land where we may find life, freedom, healing and hope.

I acknowledge that His timing in these matters may be different than my own but nevertheless I have hope that the desert experience will be a limited one.

Even in the desert, the cactus blooms!

Tags: ,
  1. Karen B.
    May 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    David, once again your post has reflected a lot of what I’ve been thinking and praying about and studying in Scripture. Today I was reading Ps. 81, which has a reference to Meribah. So I spent some time studying the (two separate?) accounts about Meribah in Exodus and Numbers, and also reading Deut. 8.

    In Ps 81, God says that Meribah, where the Israelites were thirsty, was a test. Dt. 8, elaborates on that theme quite clearly: we read that the whole wilderness experience was a test, and meant to humble God’s people and teach them to depend on Him alone.

    Ps 81:7
    7 In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah

    Deut 8:2-3
    2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
    3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

    Deut 8:11-16
    11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.
    12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down,
    13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,
    14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
    15 He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.
    16 He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.

    I know for myself, it really is so easy to forget God, to grow lazy, kind of start to “coast” when things are comfortable, to be tempted to rely on my own strength, wisdom and coping mechanisms. But in the times of need and deprivation and suffering, I have been forced time and time again to throw myself on God’s mercy, and to discover on a whole deeper level the amazing truth of God’s goodness and how He can satisfy my needs even in miraculous ways, how He is enough, and how He delights in filling me with good things I never would have thought to ask for. The times in the “desert” (both literally and figuratively) have become quite precious to me as a result, though all too often, I still fight God in those times, and grumble and follow my own stubborn heart, refusing to allow God to shepherd me until I get in a mess….

    Really enjoying your reflections this week. Thanks so much!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: