"How to Grow Roses in Your Desert"
Kathie Walters, Macon, GA
Is He Going to Kill Me?
Have you ever been in a desert? I was once on a bus, going across the desert in Egypt. At about 1:30 PM the bus broke down. It was HOT and DRY and BARREN. There was nothing there in this desert except sand, sand, and more sand. I can't remember what happened except that, mercifully, another bus came after a while.
Sometime after that, someone gave me this word: "God is going to speak to you in the desert." I thought God was going to kill me; I remembered that desert in Egypt!
Then, I heard a message about the wilderness, and I thought, "Oh, now He's going to leave me and let me wander around all alone for months or years." At the time, I was busy ministering for God; He was moving, people were being touched, and my ministry was going great, so that word about the wilderness was puzzling and a bit annoying. It looked like God was going to interfere with my ministry.
Why the Desert Places?
Why does God sometimes draw us into a desert, wilderness place? Is it a punishment, kind of like standing a child in the corner? Maybe He wants to see if we can survive or not?
Let's take a look around the desert, wilderness place... What you see is correct, there's nothing there. "Great! What now?" you may say. Well, guess what? There's someone coming toward you. There's something about Him that is pulling on your heartstrings. He has all your attention now—nothing else is there to distract you.
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her...and she shall sing there." (Hosea 2:14, 15)
An old man of God I know said this to me once: "Until you've learned to sing in the wilderness, you've never learned to sing."
Who is This "Someone"?
Now this "Someone" in the desert has got your attention, and you remember a few things you kind of forgot. Well, you didn't actually forget them, it's just that they got pushed into the background of your life.
This person in the wilderness, He is incredibly beautiful—His eyes especially. They are piercing, and seem like a fire. What great love He has for you—He is so tender and gracious. Then you remember! He is the Lord—really. As you melt, a spirit of worship comes, along with thankfulness and great joy.
"Where have you been?" He asks.
You reply, "Well, I was busy in Your Kingdom doing things for You." As soon as you say it, you realize it doesn't matter; it is YOU He is interested in, not what you do. He seems so focused on you. He loves YOU.
In Hosea 2:16, it says, "'It will come about in that day,' declares the Lord, 'that you will call Me Ishi....'" Ishi, in Hebrew, is a name which means,"my husband" and expresses the intimacy of a close relationship.
He wants to remind you that He desires a close relationship with you. You are not only a servant, but you are His beloved. There are some things He's been trying to tell you, too. Some things are about new directions, or renewing certain relationships that you didn't have time for, or thought you didn't; some things are different areas of ministry, maybe.
You might be in a desert, but the desert doesn't have to be in you. Jesus said there are springs of water in you, "springing up into everlasting life." The springs begin to well up, and praise and adoration flows out of you. Before you know it, the springs are watering everything around you. You see things differently, you feel differently about people in ways you didn't notice before.
When Jesus shows up in the wilderness, the wilderness disappears. The desert starts growing flowers. Whoever heard of roses in the desert?
"...And the desert shall rejoice, and blossom like as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing..." (Isaiah 35:1-2)
"Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water..." (Isaiah 35:6-7)
This happens when the water of life flows out of you, and it flows as you respond to Him. The Beloved is here, touching the very springs of life in you. "My Beloved is mine and I am His" (Song of Solomon 2:16). There's a sweet aroma now in the desert, like sweet apples; there are flowers of praise, and blossoms of thanksgiving. It's a beautiful place.
Wait! "Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her Beloved" (Song of Solomon 8:5)?
Why, it's someone beautiful—it's YOU.