If I had to pick a color from my childhood home, it would be green.
Lush grass filled the hillside and every square inch it could find to grow. Every summer the tree branches hung low from the weight of their leaves and offered shade as a shield from the summer heat. Oaks stretched out in every direction across the backdrop of the Mississippi sunsets.
Upon moving to the Northwest territory, I was worried all the trees in Montana had died after the first winter we were here. The leaves refused to leave their dormant state. It was late May before any of them finally burst out of their buds. Nothing has really changed over the past nineteen years. Except we now call Wyoming home, and I still long to see the greenery return in the spring.
The word Wyoming is derived from a Delaware word meaning “land of vast plains.”
So, I shouldn’t be surprised at the Great Plains in which I live. The brown-ness that stretches from mid-June to the first snowfall (usually October) really makes me believe I’m living in a desert without sand.
I’ve taken bike rides into some of the hillsides and sat on the parched dirt.
On a recent trip, I noticed a couple of snake holes near where I was sitting. I searched the vastness for any sign of life. But, once again everything had gone into its winter sleep. Later as I started to get up, I literally got a splinter in my hand from the dead grass. That was a first.
The fact that mountains surround our little hometown keeps me hanging around in this barren place. A short drive in almost any direction and I can breathe in the smells of pine and aspen. I can explore the fertile valleys and look out over alpine lakes or watch the water travel downstream over a solid bed of river rocks. But it requires work to get to these lush places.
After several years of desert living, I came across Hosea 2:14-15…
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.”
I started to see that there was a purpose for the desert living. I want this wilderness to be a place where God can speak to me. I want to believe I am here so he can speak to me.
There are no malls here. No hustle and bustle of big city living. We don’t even have cable TV. The Internet is iffy and there are more cattle than people. It’s a good reason to get off any default button one might have.
When you are in the desert, and there isn’t anything but desert, there are fewer distractions to pull at you. But still, in those dry times do we see God? Do we listen for him to allure us away? He has a promise waiting for those who feel they are in the desert. It’s to give us hope. And, as we remember our past, to color it with an air of expectancy toward our future.
Listen for His still voice as He allures us to Himself.