For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Life, in the midst of barrenness

Spring in Tennessee was beyond anything I could have imagined spring to be. I remember thinking at one point that Tennessee must be one of the best places to experience spring - greens greener than green, trees in bloom, flowers everywhere taking their turn to spring into exuberant bloom. 

Driving along the roads in the harsh landscape, on some stretches there would be these lining the road for miles on end 

Going from that glorious spring into the wilderness of Colorado, Utah and Arizona, flowers were far from my mind, and just not what I had expected to see in the desert. Cacti? Maybe so, and just one or two varieties of them. Wildflowers in an array of colors? Definitely not. 


Yet, I found that it is precisely the desolate nature of the desert that brings out even more strongly the beauty of the wildflowers. Perhaps, it was the power of contrast and juxtaposition. Life, in the midst of barrenness; delicate beauty, in spite of a harsh landscape; healing, in the most unexpected of places. Each desert wildflower - a sign of God's faithful providence. 

The number 'five' represents grace

For Christians, the desert is often seen as a place of testing and temptation - the place we would all avoid if we possibly could. Nonetheless, who can say that they shall never encounter difficult circumstances in their lives, or that their character has never been painfully tested? Despite this, many would testify that it is precisely in wilderness experiences, the more trying of life's situations, that they found themselves more keenly aware of God's providence and presence. We cherish His forgiveness, when we grieve over our wrong; we cling to hope, when the reasons to give up loom large; we need His healing, when we are not whole. 

Yucca, a plant with medicinal value

In a world that is thirsting, hungry, and suffering, each desert wildflower is a much-needed sign of life - that God and His promises are with us, we need only choose to notice. 

My favorite desert wildflower, the Indian Paintbrush. It's bright vermillion reminds me of a brilliant sunset

I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5b (ESV)

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