I love deserts.
Well, I don't know that love them accurately portrays my feelings about them.
But just like Eden, I seem drawn to them, over and over and over.
I dwell there, a lot; or, so it seems ... so it feels.
You know, there's something hauntingly attractive about deserts.
Maybe it's because life can be so hard there, obvious beauty so challenging to recognize.
But when one stumbles upon that beauty, it's captivating. It enters your soul, fills it with wonder, and lingers with a fragrance that never quite dissipates even when the desert wanderings are little more than memory.
Abram knew a desert calling, and in its famine he fled to Egypt's abundance, for a season before he returned to the place of God's calling the place of God's promise.
The children of Israel lived there ... forty years.
Moses ... eighty.
Neither ever tasting from the physical Promised Land.
John the Baptizer not only lived in the desert, he drew others to it.
I've speculated over the years on just why that was.
Then, yesterday, I fell upon a desert treasure I'd missed before.
The Greek of Matthew 3:3 become the canvas:
"A voice of one calling in the desert,
'Prepare the way for the LORD,
make straight His paths.'"
The canvas of this "desert" holds colors of "lonesome"; shades of "waste",of "desolation";hues of "desertion" and "deprivation."
Yet, in the Greek, this desert is not empty, not void. For it holds within its terrain a "road," a traveled road, a place not of immobility but of "journey."
In fact, a close look at this canvas reveals its path as "rutted, well-worn."
That fascinates me. Though, I don't know why it should.
It's logical that in desert terrain, once a route through it is discovered, the route would be very well traveled. To leave the path almost assures the traveler will loose his way, until stumbling, staggering from thirst and heat, he dies.
Who, then, stretched forth the path through this desert-scape?
Again, the canvas of Matthew 3:3 reveals much. For the owner? He is the "supreme authority," the "controller" of the way ... of the "journey," of the "progress" made upon it, of the "mode" of traveling.
How my heart rejoices this morning over the canvass set before me.
It reveals the desert, not as a place of "lostness," but a place of singular focus.
A place, where if I choose, I will see my LORD more clearly.
Absent of worldly distractions, the deeply rutted pathway of the faithful who have traveled before me will lay bare the way of hope, and promise, and eternal provision my soul hungers after without respite in other thoroughfares.
My LORD has prepared a way to Himself. A way replete with His provisions, His mercies, and His light.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
DeAnna Brooks (December 5, 2007)
Having raised four children, I live now in Texas. Mostly my writing is a sojourn with God. I find myself ever planted in Eden, glorying in its abundant and rich communion with the Almighty. Or, I am looking back, with longing. And the sojourn continues.
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