First, there is life – the genuine and abundant kind that can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Finally, it is the kind of life that bubbles up in the springs of living water that Jesus spoke of to the Samaritan woman. It is the living water that God uses to accomplish all that He desires through His people.
Life there is like tracks in the sand.
Often when we look at the desert we don’t see anything living. The cool rock formations, the towering sand dunes, the glorious sunsets – but as far as life is concerned, nothing. The plants all look dry and dead. Nothing moving – in some directions not even Bedouin tents, power lines or desert tracks to indicate human intervention in the desert.
Get down on the ground, though, look real close, or put on your night vision goggles, and the place comes alive – a large hedgehog, fox or even a little Jerboa desert mouse living close to your home. There is life.
Sleeping out on a sand dune, you really get to see the desert up close. Deserts are hot, so most of the wildlife is at night, kind of like western pop culture. Then you see large beetles and lizards. Beetles are key because they are at the bottom of the food chain. Everything goes up from them.
However, when you get up from your desert sleep, early while it is still cool – check the sand for tracks. Snake and bird tracks get added to the list, and there are tracks everywhere. The whole night’s activity was laid out right in front of you.
Spiritually it is the same. We look out at our neighbours and see no life. No response to years of our daytime activity. We see a spiritual desert, lots of huge religious monuments, but nothing with eternal life in it. It’s a desert out there, but if you get down real close there are tracks in the sands of people’s lives. Right now we can’t see much, but sometimes the Lord is gracious and lets us see, for a few minutes, early in the morning of our activities, a couple of tracks.
Mostly, it’s like the parable of the farmer sowing seed and then describing what the kingdom of God would be like – a mustard seed.
Right now many are planting mustard seed and we believe that the tree is on the way. It will be the answer to many of our prayers that God does the impossible in the desert. Some day the Kingdom of Jesus right here in the desert will grow big enough to provide shade.
One little scratch in the sand and the mystery goes on. Keep praying that activity will be led by the Holy Spirit – in the end it is still a miracle of God when the seeds that we plant flourish and we wake and see life in the desert.
Thanks for praying for that miracle.