Archives For desert

The Call of the Ocean

randomlychad  —  September 7, 2012 — 5 Comments

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If I have written of the desert lately, it’s because I live in one. I daily view rough, rocky, brown mountains rising up all around me from the valley floor. As I said previously, there’s a somber splendor to it, a peacefulness.

Yet it can be as foreign as Mars.
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I’ve seen the pictures beamed back across millions of miles of space, and thought “Wow! Mars looks a lot like Arizona.” And it does. Desert and dust as far as the eye can see.

I didn’t choose to live on Mars–that choice was made for me. Thirty five years ago, my dad was transferred here–so we moved. I can’t regret it. I subsequently met, and married, a wonderful woman, had two wonderful children, forged a career.

My home is here.

But here is not where I want to always be. I want to take my family on adventure: “further up, and further in” as Lewis says in Narnia. I don’t know what form it will take, but I do know this:

It begins with a closer walk with God.

Because if grace is an ocean, I want more than the Sea of Tranquillity. Sure, I want peace–but may it be in my heart while I’m fighting for something larger than me.
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Because I’ve learned something from my sojourn in the desert:

Peace isn’t an absence, but a presence, or rather the Presence: Jesus. Those of you who are married know that there can be a cessation of overt hostility, but very little peace in a home.

The same is true in the world:

Peace isn’t the absence of open conflict, but the presence, the Person, of Christ.

Make no mistake: we will have conflict as long as we sojourn here, in this place the Bible calls the “vail of tears.” As Aragon says to Theoden in The Two Towers: “Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it, or not.”

But He–Jesus–offers something invaluable:

An ocean of mercy in the midst of our desert places, and a sea of grace for the battles we face. “My grace is sufficient,” he says. Do we live like it? Are we running missions mere yards from the gates of Hell?

Are you hearing the ocean’s call today? What is it saying to you?

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Beyond the heat, there are hazards to living in the desert. There is, of course, ample sunshine, but a great lack of rain.

Growth requires both sunshine and rain.

Some plants are able to dig down deep, find underground aquifers. Others wither. Water is key. Desert places would be uninhabitable without it.

The desert, expectant as it is–so deeply, desperately–in need of rain, is a dangerous place for it.

For rain.

You see, the hot sun beats down, bakes the ground, so that when the storms come, that dry crust can’t receive the life-giving blessings that the water promises.
Through “fiery trial” it has become impermeable.

The rainfall, having nowhere to go, runs along the path of least resistance.

This is a flashflood.

(And it’s dangerous not only to the flora and fauna, but to people as well. Every year there are stories of people trapped in deluges).

Like the desert ground, are our hearts not often like this as well? Hardened by the fiery trials of life, we can’t receive what He’s pouring out. Or maybe we do ask for God to move, to send the rain? But are then not receptive when it comes in a time, place, way not of our choosing.

Instead we grumble and complain.

Like the desert, our hearts–through hardness, indifference, or selfishness–are not open to receive what He wants to give.

We forget that life does not come on our terms, but rather on those of a Sovereign who shares His glory with no man.

How can you humble yourself today to receive His life-giving rain?

Desolation and Deserts

randomlychad  —  September 3, 2012 — 2 Comments

There’s something about the desert, entirely apart from the searing heat, that bakes its way into ones soul. Like clay, ones soul can harden, dry, in that open oven. The sere vistas, dry, cracked, hard-packed earth as far as the eye can see.

It does something to the heart.

Yet there’s a peacefulness to it, too–an austerity. A kind of somber splendor. And somehow it’s alive–gloriously alive! Against all hope, there is life! Life clings tenaciously to the ground. There is a verdancy one doesn’t expect, almost forgets to look for, amidst the haze of dust clouds.

The desert tests one, tests one’s resolve. Tests one’s ability to continue to believe, abide in faith, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Jesus came to this wilderness–the desert, this earth–to lead out of dryness.

If your soul is parched, look up today: there is evidence of rain.

Where do you see Jesus moving in your dry places?