Cactus

Isaiah 43:18-21

18 “But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. 20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me,
 the jackals and owls, too,
 for giving them water in the desert.
Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland
  so my chosen people can be refreshed. 21 I have made Israel for myself,
and they will someday honor me before the whole world.

I grew up in the foothills of Southern California in a little town called Glendora. About an hour away (depending on the amount of bumper to bumper traffic) is the “High Desert,” where my family used to ride dune buggies and 4 wheelers through the rugged terrain. I absolutely loved circling the wagons (aka: motor homes), suiting up in my protective gear, and exploring the dry wasteland for hours on end. I’ll admit, the desert isn’t the most beautiful landscape to behold- but just as everything else God created, there IS a purpose for its existence.

It’s astounding that wildlife and plants can live- even thrive- in the dry, scalding heat in the area between the San Gabriel Mountains. Still, Our Father, in His infinite wisdom, made a way. Take the cactus. It’s a prickly thing on the outside, but its soft interior is able to absorb and store water in order to survive drought-like conditions. Not only is it self-sustaining, its stored water supply (which turns into a thick, sticky substance) has been known to save countless numbers of people who have found themselves dying of thirst in the desert.  However, as with all reservoirs, if not refilled, it will dry out. As a result, not only will the cactus die, but it will greatly impact those whom depend on its nutrients for life.

I’ve often acted like a cactus…prickly on the outside, yet able to sustain myself for long periods of time without any Living Water. I can even tap further into my water reserve to share a drink with those who need help. Eventually, though, if my water supply isn’t replenished, my reservoir will run dry and my soul will begin to die.

When I enter into a dry wasteland, my natural tendency is to hop on a dune buggy and ride to a more lush location. But sometimes, God allows me to live in the desert for reasons known only to Him. Maybe it’s to show me that I am not designed, like the cactus to be self-sufficient. I must depend on The Living Water each and every day for life. And, when the rains don’t fall, my roots must be forced (just as cactus roots are) to dig deep and wide into the underground rivers that run through the desert. Only then can I live life to the full and share my thick, sticky substance with others.

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