I had always wanted to go to the desert and see the wildflowers bloom. I read in an article that once a year wildflowers bloom in the desert. I planned to take our family down to Palm Springs from the San Francisco Bay area for the first time, but when I called to book a jeep tour, the company told me that no one knows exactly when flowers bloom in the desert. “We only know they bloom some time between March and May,” they said.
I learned that depending on the conditions of the land, rainfall, and weather, the timing varies every year. Still, I booked the trip, praying that God would allow us to see the wildflowers.
As my family and I zoomed out into the desert later in the spring, there was nothing but dirt, rocks, plentiful Joshua trees, and shrubs dotting the landscape as our jeep drove across the desert plains. I felt pretty disappointed.
“I thought we were going to see wildflowers?” my boys asked.
“Yeah, I guess not,” I shouted above the squeaky jeep ride.
However, thirty minutes later, and to my surprise, our guide stopped by the roadside and walked us over to some plants. “Wildflowers bloom here because they tell us something important is up ahead,” he said with a sparkle in his eyes underneath his sun hat.
He pointed up ahead to a cluster of palm trees in the distance. An oasis was up ahead. Streams in the desert were running underneath the ground we stood on, and the wildflowers plants were drawing water from deep within the desert.
I didn’t know flowers could blossom like that in the desert because nothing along the way told me that something beautiful would emerge from dry wilderness. Yet underneath the barren desert floor where I could not see, life-giving water was flowing.
Are you standing in a wilderness of your own and joy looks out of reach, as you end the year? Do you feel stressed, surrounded by the questions and problems surrounding you? Are you losing hope that beauty will show up along the way?
No matter how dry or barren your life feels now, it’s never too late to choose joy. God’s love and peace is an oasis we can run to, return to, and get refilled by no matter how things appear.
As I stood there in the middle of the oasis of palm trees, marveling at the pool of water flowing out of the ground, I felt an overwhelming peace. My heart was refreshed with joy as I began recalling Scriptures that flowed out life-giving truth:
Nothing is impossible with God.
Luke 1:37 (ESV)
Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up.
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
The wilderness and the dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing.
Isaiah 35:1-2 (HCSB)
God’s Word empowers us and gives us hope. No matter what wilderness or desert of stress we may find ourselves in, we can always return to the oasis of God’s presence and choose joy again.
What are the stresses you’re experiencing? Tell God about it. Come vulnerably and honestly before Him and share your struggles, perhaps your lack of hope, and your tender hope to believe that joy might be possible again.
Friends, as we step into the new year in a couple of days, don’t give up looking for joy. Encourage yourself to believe God has prepared a place for you to blossom with joy in this world. Take your time. There is no rush or expiration date to finding joy. There is room for you to grow and learn what helps you to experience joy in a personal way. Take just one next step to bloom right where you are planted.
Whatever that might look like for you, seek it out in faith, knowing that when we seek it, we will find it. An oasis of joy waiting for you up ahead. It’s never too late to choose joy because you are God’s beloved daughter.