Seasons of refreshing even come to the desert. For many months, an assortment of browns have covered the landscape like scum on a shower door. Winter rains surprised me, but still there was no color aside from evergreens planted years ago by our compassionate homeowner. My morning drives across the flats and hills were only populated by skeletons of sage and heaps of dead tumbleweeds holding on to each other in gullies and ravines. I looked for life but saw none, until they came. They came through deserts brown, and I pitied their arrival to barren hills. Herds of brown and white cattle made their way through sage, as if trusting change would come, making it worth the move.
Isn’t that what keeps us going in a desert? The hope we will get to the other side?
Life in a desert is, by definition, a dry life. Moisturizer and a water bottle are no longer added comfort for me; they’re necessary. A visit to my eye doctor revealed my eyes have suffered and need intervention for extreme dryness leaving abrasions on my cornea. He warned that if I don’t change the conditions, scarring will result.
Dryness leads to irritation and pain. Like physical dryness, spiritual, relational, social, and emotional dryness can be irritating and painful. Scars can result. When we’re in a desert place in life, we long to have our thirst quenched and our dryness soothed, body and soul. Are you in a desert brown?
The cattle I’ve watched and pondered didn’t come to the desert brown on their own. They were delivered at the right time. Led to what would become a good place. Brought to have their needs met at the right moment when the desert brown became the pasture green.
Had the winter been hard? Did they suffer? Had they lost hope? Were they aware relief was coming? I don’t know what a cow knows, but I know what a desert feels like. It’s hard. You suffer. You try not to lose hope. You pray relief is coming.
Are you there? Struggling with a season of dryness spiritually? Suffering from a wounded heart? Trying not to lose hope about a relationship? Starting to doubt if relief will come? You know what a desert feels like.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.” (Psalm 23:1-2a)
They didn’t know what they would find, but the farmer knew. He watched the hills and marked the rain, studied the ground and considered the sage. He prepared to move his herd through deserts brown to pastures green at the time of refreshing. I’ve watched as they’ve settled in to lie down in pastures green. When we don’t know, our Shepherd knows.
When we long for the dry season to be over, we crave a glimpse of future feeding. We want a little taste of better things to come, but our Shepherd waits for the right time. We can know He is preparing good things for us, acting for our good, and watching over us. We trust He will not leave us in deserts brown, but will lead us to pastures green to find rest, healing, and peace.
If you’re in a desert brown, may you find strength to press on to green pastures, believing the Lord is your shepherd. Let this promise give us hope when moving through the brown: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)