No Desert Lasts Forever
- October 30, 2015
- Josh Godwin
I’ve never actually been to a desert, I must confess. I think I drove through a desert once, but I can’t remember to be certain. But even still, I think there’s a big difference between driving through a desert and being in a desert. Driving or riding through a desert is pretty short lived; you’re inside for almost all of it looking out through pieces of glass and seeing the desert around. Sure you can see plenty of sand, a few rocks, and maybe if you’re lucky a cactus or 2. And sure it can be a little hot and slightly uncomfortable, but it’s lacking that certain desert-ness. Driving through a desert lacks that desert-ness that makes a desert, well, a desert.
There’s something about a desert that scares us down to our very core. Deserts are barren places where the ground is hard and the days are harder. Deserts are places where the sun shines in ways that don’t bring rainbows but rather bring sunburn and dehydration. For things that consist of almost 60% water, that’s extremely worrisome; at least it should be. The human body doesn’t jive well in deserts by design. The dryness of deserts is the anti-human thing, the opposite of the optimal environment for the human body.
But just as much as deserts are physically scary, there’s a psychological fright that comes out of a seemingly never ending wasteland of sand and wind. There’s something really worrisome about a vast nothingness stretching out in every direction and being stuck in the middle of it. It’s tough to put ourselves in this space mentally if we’ve never been there before. I don’t think unless somebody has felt the heat of the desert sun or the coarseness of the sandy wind blowing across a face then they can’t put themselves in that place of mental terror.
But then I wonder, how often do we put ourselves in deserts without being even remotely close to one? Just as much as the body can be dried out by the world around us, we as people can become dried out mentally and spiritually without even setting foot in the desert. Just as our bodies have to be hydrated by water, those intangible things about humans, the mind, heart, soul, have to be saturated as well in order to really function and be, well, human.
Whenever the intangible parts of who we are become dehydrated, it becomes really easy to get lost in the desert that we find ourselves in. Because the horizon just keeps on going, the sand keeps shifting, and life doesn’t get any easier. It often gets a whole lot harder, and when it gets harder it becomes much harder to focus on finding the way out. It’s scary easy to become spiritually dehydrated, and much harder to re-saturate a dry spirit.
But every desert ends. Even the great Sahara desert has a point where the sands end and things start to grow again, where life returns. Sure it might be hundreds of miles from where you find yourself now, but there is an ending point. And just like every physical desert has an end, every spiritual desert has an end. It may be hundreds, thousands, of miles from where you find yourself. It may seem like there’s no hope left, the horizon keeps getting farther and farther and the sun keeps getting higher and higher in the sky. But no desert lasts forever.