I am not much of a gardener. I do best with hardy plants that can pretty much be ignored for long periods of time when I lose interest in them. My friend Kbird has a gift for gardening. When she moved to her new house in northern New Zealand a few years ago, she started planning her garden immediately and she keeps me updated on how it is doing.
Even the best of gardeners have "challenges". Last year, much of the midwestern region of the US was gripped by a terrible drought. It wasn't too bad where I lived and about 80% of the crops survived but last summer my husband and I drove through a large portion of the area stricken by extreme drought. I couldn't bear to look at the dying crops. In some areas, the farmers had simply plowed them under.
There are times in our lives when we find ourselves wandering through "dry land". Perhaps we are spiritually dry but there are also times when we find ourselves facing severe and overwhelming problems. Perhaps we are dealing with rebellious children, a difficult marriage or a broken heart. Sometimes a dream has been shattered, we have lost our security, serious illness strikes, injury occurs or we suffer heartbreaking loss.
When we do, we discover that we are suddenly wandering about in a dry land, the desert, longing to be rescued or at least come to an oasis where we can rest for awhile before moving on. It can be very lonely and discouraging at times when you are wandering through the desert. Especially if you see nothing but barren land as far as the eye can see.
God is not just the God of fertile, well-watered land. He is also the God of the desert and He does amazing things in the desert. If you don't believe me, read the Book of Exodus.
God is not only in the desert with us; He causes us to actually flourish in the desert. In the Book of Isaiah it says:
Amazing isn't it but then that's just what God is. Amazing.
Often time those who are going through hard times are are only discouraged more by those who would critize and judge. The spiritual life requires empathy and compassion for others. We dont know why others do what they do and we dont know what is taking place in their lifes. Before we deem somebody as a heathen or immature let try to put on their shoes. We all go through dry spells therefore understanding and love is paramount.
Just thinking about all this, I know there are the times of drought during which times we grow, but it is when we arrive at the oasis that things flourish and bloom. When we are in times of drought the roots go deep and help to support the plant. It seems to me that with our feet planted securely in God's soil we become stronger, and so we flourish. In trying to avoid the first step of strong roots (foundations) we also 'avoid' the opportunity grow well.