Saturday, September 25, 2021

Seeing God in the Desert - Martin Wiles

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 NLT

I looked as hard as I could, but I could not see what I wanted to see.

I remember the old westerns where a cowboy inevitably found himself in the desert with no water. As he plodded along, almost at the point of death, he’d suddenly see a pool of water, perhaps surrounded by trees. With his last ounce of energy, he’d crawl to the spot and plop his burning face into the cool, refreshing water—only to discover he’d seen a mirage. His face hit hot, burning sand.

Mirages occur when the ground is hot while the air is cool. The hot ground warms a layer of air just above the ground. When light moves through the cold air and into the layer of hot air, it refracts or bends. A layer of warm air near the ground refracts the light from the sky nearly into a U-shaped bend, making it appear that something is there which isn’t.

I recall one hiking adventure soon after my youngest brother married. My brother, daughter, and I hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail on the North Carolina Tennessee border that took us across mountain balds. While the beauty captivated us, water proved scarce. We looked and looked for blue blazes, signaling a water source. Never had I experienced such nervousness, hoping we didn’t run out of water before we reached a source.

The psalmist spoke of a time, perhaps many times, when his entire body thirsted for God. But the land was parched and weary, and He could not find God.

Like trying to see in a dark area, I too have passed through times when I’ve looked for God—thirsted for God—in dry places in my life. I’ve squinted, trying to determine where life was taking me and why, only to come up dry. And I’ve often thought I’d love and trust God more if things traveled smoothly in my life, rather than having every source of water dry up.

What I’ve learned is we travel life by faith. We walk by faith—and we see by faith. God orchestrates the events that create a parched and weary land so that we’ll turn to Him rather than to sources that will only satisfy us temporarily.

In our dry areas, Satan creates mirages that appear to provide what we think we need. But when we obtain them, we find them to be only hot burning patches of sand that disappoint us.

Desert times will come. No amount of preparation will prevent them. But faith will guide us through them to the cool, refreshing water waiting on the other side.

Let the desert times draw you closer to the God who can give you the satisfying water of life.

Prayer: Father, turn us only to You to satisfy the desires You have placed within us.

Tweetable: Do you see God in your desert? 

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