You Can Thrive in the Desert

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I once thought I could never bloom in a barren land, never be all God called me to be in the midst of hard, dry circumstances. Then a friend named Stacy told me I could thrive in the desert. What freedom this brings! When life is dry and barren, the sun burns hot, and all you can see is sand, you can still bloom in Christ.

As I reflected on her words, I imagined this conversation with a desert lily. Listen in. Perhaps you can relate.

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A Conversation With a Desert Lily

When I traveled across the Mojave Desert, a desert lily caught my attention.  Planted firmly in the ground, she stood, head down, weeping. I leaned in close with concern and studied her, “Oh, why do you cry so?  Why do you weep? What is the reason for your lament?”

She lifted her head and answered softly, as tears streamed down her cheeks, “I’ve wept as long as I can remember. The desert is so dry. Sand surrounds me. The wind blows dry and hot.  The sun beats down. I will never bloom properly in such a place.”

With each sentence she spoke, her head sank lower.

“But what of your feet?  Your roots? Are they hot and dry too?” I asked.

Lily lifted her head and shook sand off her petals as she responded with worry, “Did you see the sand I shook off my petals just now?”

“Yes, yes,” I said. “I saw you shake the sand with you plush, white petals and I saw the sand scatter in the wind.  But what of your feet? Your roots? Tell me, are they hot and dry too?”

“I do it every day,” she answered with a snappy voice.

“Do what?”

“Shake the sand off my petals. Some days I must do it every hour. Oh, it’s so, so dry here. I’ll never bloom properly in such a place!” 

“Yes,” I said. “It does appear quite dry here in the desert, but try to answer my question please, I do pray, what of your feet? Your roots? Are they dry?”

“My feet?  My roots? I don’t know. I can’t even see those. Why do you ask me such strange questions, about things I can’t see, when all this sand surrounds me?”

I plucked a little petal off the desert lily and ate it.

“Ouch!” she retorted.  “Why did you do that?”

“I was thirsty,”

“Am I water to drink?”

“Not really, but obviously it flows within you. Look! See now how the water pours out of the place from which I plucked!” – I cupped my hands underneath her wound to capture a drink.

Lily looked and saw that indeed, water flowed from her wound. She stood astounded, staring.

I asked her again, “Tell me, what of your feet?  Your roots? Are they dry too?”

“I can’t see them,” she responded, still puzzling over the newfound flow of water that poured from her wound.

“Oh, I know you can’t see them,” I said. “Just close your eyes and know them.  Fix your eyes on your feet, your roots.”

Placing a leafy hand over her wound, Lily squeezed her eyes shut. “I still can’t see them,” she explained.

“Take a deep breath, your eyes need a rest from staring at the blinding sand so long.”

Lily relaxed her eyes and took the deepest breath she could. The steady flow of water now gushed from her wound and her eyes popped open with delight as she gasped, “My goodness! My roots!  My feet! They’re very, very wet! My roots grow deep in secret places where Water is plentiful. You just can’t see it!”

I smiled and cupped my hands once again under her wound to collect a cool splash for my hot face. 

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Dear Reader, when you live in a barren place but your roots go deep, reaching into The Living Water, you are a beautiful flower growing amidst the dry parched land around you.  You need not worry about drought as you keep reaching deep into Christ. You can thrive in the desert. In Christ, you will bloom!

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“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” — Jeremiah, a prophet to the nations in Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” — Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother in 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” — Jesus in John 7:38 (NIV)

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