I am surrounded by mountain and valleys... stretching, climbing landscapes that capture the attention *and heart* every day.
But the most beautiful thing I have experienced here is the rain.
Because, you see, I live in the desert.
In this place the grass is either well-tended or it dies. Dirt isn't soft, moist, and almost-black... it is tan, dry, and chalky.
The heat gets strong, plants die, and the ground cracks under the pressure. It becomes a sweltering, blinding wilderness.
Then the rain comes. And everything changes.
Deep greens reappear, the heat is cooled, the ground turns copper as it soaks up the moisture, and the smell... oh the smell... the sweet aroma of sage brush fills the air. It is cleansing, restoring, and beautiful.
Then it builds. Because here there are so many rocks and not enough earth to absorb it all. It rolls down the sides of the roads, crashing over pebbles. Growing, sweeping, and flooding.
It doesn't seem possible that only a day of rain can bring about something so mighty.
And my heart can be like this desert. The sun beats down and I slowly fade and crack. Days and weeks (or years) on end the heat comes to burn and wither. I wonder what to do with the little I have left in me.
"Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, 'Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?'
This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.
Philip answered Him, 'Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.'
One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 'There is a lad who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many people?'
Jesus said, 'Have the people sit down.' Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted.
When they were filled, He said to His disciples, 'Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.'
So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten."
~ John 6: 5-13
Jesus gave thanks for the little He had been given and God used that small gift in a way not humanly possible.
He showed something miraculous and beautiful... And if He can do something so amazing with bread and fish, how much more is possible for Him to accomplish in and with the redeemed heart of His child?
"I would have despaired unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord."
~ Psalm 27:13-14
And He does come. Like rain in the desert, He comes. He brings back my life and ability to thrive. I still fight with the despair over and over, but His goodness, His mercy without end, comes rushing over me, flooding my soul and strengthening my heart.
I need only be still and thank Him.
And, like the scent of dry sage brush in a downpour, it is so sweet.