Oh give thanks!

But God turns deserts into pools

Psalm 107:34-35 God turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands, because of the wickedness of those who live there. But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water.

Psalm 110:7 But God himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way.

While I was in Idaho, my brother-in-law drove me four and a half hours across the rolling high desert hills to a place I wanted to revisit for Treasure Hunt 1904. It’s a journey of dramatic contrasts. From time to time we passed emerald fields patchworking the desert, irrigation rigs spraying life into naturally dry yet fertile soil. The rivers supplying this magic cut deep ravines through volcanic rock.

I’ve never lived in a dry place. In Guatemala we used to say it rained thirteen months of the year, while Brazilian torrential rains gave me a new understanding of the devastating power of floods. In Pittsburgh, if it doesn’t rain for a week, we think we’re in drought. But through my visits to southern Idaho, I’m discovering a unique loveliness in the colors and textures of the desert and the feel of the air.

Scripture often identifies the desert as a place of intimacy with God. “I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there,” says the Lord in Hosea 2:15. The physical desert shifts my perspective from superfluity to simplicity, opening space for me to see the dry and anxious places in my heart. I’m moved from griping to gratitude, appreciating in new ways the “magic” of the sweet, life-giving flow of the Holy Spirit, the river of life. Will I submit the desert of my heart to bubbling Spirit-brooks so my life can be a place of refreshment to the Lord? Isn’t that a startling thought?

Seven times Psalm 107 repeats the phrase “Give thanks to the Lord” as it relates stories of redemption. “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!” (verses 2, 22, 32). If you like, you can use this blog as a way of telling: send your story to me at debrakornfield@gmail.com. Remember and tell! Your story can encourage others.

Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord (Psalm 107:43).