Desert Rose

By Doug Floyd A gust of air sweeps along the lonesome plains like a gushing, waterless river. Beneath this parched, silent storm, a song, a cry, a voice continually calls out from the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Lovers bloom in the arid desert wind. Wearied by the smothering comforts of abundance, the gasping soul finds a refuge, a peace, a joy in the desolate path of divine love. The apostle Paul stumbles across this path on his way to Damascus. Filled with fury and vision from on high, he charges forth to fight, and kill, on behalf of truth. Divine love interrupts Paul’s mission. Eclipsed by a blinding vision of God’s love, Paul sees what no eye can see; Paul hears what no ear can hear. Paul meets Love beyond all love: Love beyond all knowledge. In the startling momentary glimpse of Jesus’ love, Paul changes from a marauding crusader to a helpless lover. Stripped from the safety of titles, degrees and human achievement, Paul stands naked before the ultimate Creator, the Lord of Hosts. And he discovers that the source of all creation is not simply power but a dance of unending love between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In a single instant, Paul glimpses behind the veil of creation and beholds a love so real, so beautiful, so captivating, that he forgets everything else except this love. This love sustains him, compels him, completes him. This love is home. Lovers bloom in the arid desert wind. We are traveling across a vast desert. We didn’t choose the desert it chose us. It is in our bones. We are the children of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob. We are a nomadic people called to pilgrimage. At times, we may deny the desert. With enough music and singing and dancing and laughter, we might just drown out the pangs deep within our soul. Yet sometimes the deep longing throbs loud enough to wake us up and remind us of our soul parching thirst for the fountain of divine love. “In the desert, prepare the way of the Lord.” In these moments of absolute weakness, of absolute dependence, we can do nothing but simply ache for the presence of God. This helplessness, this longing, this desire is a sign that Love has already reached out to us and is drawing us ever closer, ever upward into His heart.

But the desert has so drained us that we are too weak to try and impress Him. We cannot perform amazing feats of prayer and fasting. We cannot muster the strength to stand tall and go charging forth as a valiant warrior. Instead, like a mumbling drunk or a dying Savior, we simply cry out, “I thirst.” And He comes and satisfies our thirst with a spring of love that knows no bounds. All who are weary, All who are thirsty, All who are crushed, All who are defeated, All who have given up all hope, All who are needy, come and rest In a Love that shapes and sustains All living things. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”