The air hung thick and hot as the sun beat down on my face. The usually dry heat so familiar to this place had given way to a muggy and heavy blanket tucked over the city. On the horizon, circling all around our neighborhood, clouds towered high. Thunderheads rose tall and powerful, teasing with the promise of the sweet relief of rain.
Rain that would never come.
In the small towns surrounding us, at least a few drops fell. But for us in this little valley at the north end of Phoenix, our fate was a dry one.
I remember this from my childhood. Having grown up just a couple of miles down the road from where my children now grow, I remember well the disdain and disappointment every time the monsoon forecasts would come. Oh sure, we’d get a storm every now and again. But there was something about our little valley within the Valley of the Sun that repelled rain. I remember vividly clouds circling our area, gray strings of rain feathering the horizon. The sweet, earthy scent of the creosote bush wafting on the breeze…and the rain falling on everyone but us.
Do you ever feel that way? Like God’s blessings are on the horizon…you can see them, smell them, feel them heavy in the air. So close it awakes an ache in your heart you didn’t know possible?
So you watch with hopeful anticipation for the rain of His Blessing to fall. And fall it does…but not on you.
You feel as though you’re standing in a spiritual desert, parched and withered, desperate for the water that quenches like none other. Only to see the faces of others dripping and dew-kissed while your lips crack in dehydration.
Then the wondering begins.
Did I hear You wrong, God? Am I in the wrong place? Did You not say to come here? Do this?
You wonder why the blessings fall so heavily on others that they can hardly keep their heads above it, while your spirit wastes away to dust.
You know the Rain will come. It has to. But it never seems to fall as frequently or fervently as it seems to for those around you.
Have you ever been there?
More frequently than I care to admit.
However, God has shown me an oasis in the desert. He’s wiped the matted dust from my vision and allowed me to see more clearly.
The material things of this world are not God’s blessings. The accolades, the platforms, the raises and financial depth. The prayers answered with a yes rather than a no or not now. Those are not His blessings.
God’s blessing—His real, true, deep blessing—is Jesus. It’s God Himself.
As people who identify as followers of Jesus, we should be more about Him and His fame than the gifts He can bestow upon us.
Does God give us good gifts? Allow good and fun and over-the-top extra into our lives? No doubt. What father doesn’t delight in giving good gifts to his children?
But our motivation, our drive, our desire should be for Him, and Him alone.
And when we finally shut our mouths, stop begging for one minute, and allow ourselves to sit in His presence and really soak in who. He. is.? It is then we can really and truly begin grasp the depth and breadth and weight that is the blessing of knowing Him.
So, if you find yourself in the desert, spirit withered and weary, fighting bitterness as those around you bloom and thrive? Turn your focus to Him. Spend time in His word and at His feet for no other purpose than knowing Him. If you’re not yet a follower of Jesus and wonder if He even hears you, if He even cares, give it a try, too. Quiet your spirit, present yourself before Him, and ask Him to help you know Him. And He will.
And the more you know Him, the closer you’re drawn to Him, the more your spirit will drink deep the Living Water and the circumstantial deserts that inevitably come will no longer drain your soul of it’s moisture. And you will thrive in the desert, and thirst no more.