Living in the Desert
Now that I’ve been back in Vegas for a few days, I’ve had time to think about what it’s like living in the desert (compared to the lush, green, coast of Connecticut). Yup, it’s definitely hot here. Don’t even think of saying, “Well, at least it’s a dry heat.” When it’s 112 degrees, I don’t care about the humidity level. Either way you slice it, this is a ridiculous way to live.
But before you start getting the idea that I hate living here, you should know that I’m really thankful to live in the desert for right now.
We have had so many adventures in the South West, including enough National Park trips to warrant being annual pass holders. The South West has an expansive beauty that just can’t be compared to anywhere else in the country.
It was a sermon a few weeks ago that really got me thinking about how special the desert has been. I’ll add the link as soon as it’s available. The sermon was about Philip and an Etheopian Eunich (Acts 8:26-40).
The short version is that God tells Philip to go on the road towards the desert. He doesn’t get any destination or further instructions, just to head towards the desert. On his way, Philip is instructed to run along side a carriage; he listens to the Eunich traveling inside and realizes that the man is reading scripture, but doesn’t understand what he is reading. Philip is asked to explain the passage and once he does, God takes him somewhere else.
The reason this passage has been so thought provoking for me is how similar it is to my own story. I always thought that I wanted to be someone who would respond to God’s calling without question and held fast to Genesis 12:1-4 for a long time in college:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
I wish I could say that when we found out we were being stationed in Las Vegas, I packed my bags and went without an argument. I wish I could say that I don’t ever question where God is telling me to go or what to do.
When we first got here, it was a physical, spiritual, emotional “desert” experience; I refused to understand how this could be the best place for us. Eventually though, God blessed us with wonderful friends and coworkers and with a church where we found a surrogate family and continue to grow as individuals.
As it turns out, living in the desert is a pretty special thing. It’s in those uncomfortable, sometimes lonely places that we learn the most and, unavoidably, grow the most. We have another 10.5 months to make the most of our desert experience before, like Philip, we have to move on to the next adventure. This time, however, I plan on responding like Philip and Abraham; I may not be happy with where we get stationed next, but I will go without question because God has never put us in an “unredeemable” situation. No matter where we go next, we’ll grow and learn, just like we have here in the desert.