Finding Joy in Discouraging Times

There is no place more discouraging to life than the Sonora Desert in mid-summer, at the peak of day. The relentless sun blazes like an oven, baking any living creature that dares to come out from below ground. It is a dry heat consuming every drop of water in its path. To those ignorant of the desert, this alien, inhospitable landscape appears to be devoid of life. Rocks, hard-baked sand, near leafless trees, and towering Saguaro armies standing guard over a host of diverse cactus brothers all armored in long sharp thorns. First time visitors often rub their eyes in response and wonder if they’ve been somehow, transported to another planet, unawares. It takes patience and a willingness to endure to discover the abundance of life hidden and nurtured in the Sonora Desert; but for those who faithfully wait, the desert reveals in radiance a beauty that rivals all earthly beauty. It is a kaleidoscope land of rainbow colors that shifts with every hour of the day; within a cycle of seasons that pass from hell in the summer into winter paradise. This special desert performs a continual dance with the heavens reflecting its joyful colors. Even in hellish summer, this joyous celebration continues, in magnificent sunrises and sunsets that transforms the land in colorful reflections as bright as the sky. In all times and in all seasons the desert faithfully glorifies the sun.

Full-time Sonorans are a rare breed. Millions flock to the Sonora in winter and quickly flee northward at the first hint of summer heat. Only the faithfully dedicated remain and endure the discouragement of summer and patiently, await the return of the longer temperate season. Taking their cue from the native plant and wildlife, they hunker down and pull inward for necessary sustenance. Surviving the desert requires adaptation and the kind of nurturing that comes from within. Life-giving water stored in a place where the hungry sun can’t reach is vital for all who hope to emerge from the summer furnace to enjoy future seasons of growth and abundant life. It is the Saguaros who have adapted best. With vast stores of water within them they tower reaching for the sky fearlessly, standing guard in all seasons. The summer heat seems not to affect them as they patiently wait for the flowered crowns that adorn them in late winter and early spring. It is the Saguaro who set the example for all living things in the sometimes, harsh Sonora Desert.

As a believer in Christ Jesus living in a time inhospitable to faith, I also, look to the example of the Saguaro; those faithful guardians of my beloved Sonora Desert. I hear the discouraged cries of my brothers and sisters and I hope to encourage them also, with this message from the Saguaro. Dear ones, be assured that the Paradise season is on the way. In Jesus, we have all we need to endure the blistering heat that is beginning to beat down. Our sustenance is that fount of Living Water that through faith flows deep inside, safe from the thirsty heat. Like the Saguaro, those who belong to Jesus have our roots hidden in the cleft of the rock. With roots reaching deep into an underground stream that is unknown and unreachable to the relentless burning, we receive all we need to endure. Refuse the discouragement offered by the world and instead, reach toward Heaven and with joy look forward to receiving your flowered crown! No matter how hostile to our faith the world may become, no one can take away the joy we have in Jesus or evaporate His promise of future Paradise! Like the Sonora Desert, let us daily celebrate by reflecting and glorifying the Son in our daily lives. His righteousness is the only source of true joy in life-discouraging times.



18 thoughts on “Finding Joy in Discouraging Times

    1. No, but I like to go there in winter. It’s complicated but I have an illness that makes the cold dangerous so, I take a break from winter down there…I would stay down there but I can’t tolerate air conditioning either and it is necessary! So, I migrate.:0)

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  1. Looked up all about the fascinating Saguaro on Wikipedia. There’s much we can learn from God’s creation. The saguaro can reach heights of 70 feet and a girth of 10 feet and have a lifespan of 150 years! That is truly amazing. During precipitation they soak in the rainwater and visibly expand. The water is preserved and used very conservatively by the cactus.

    We have the Fountain of Living Water to nourish us. Due to the uncertainty of life and certainty of death (of the body), we need to drink deep and often from the Fountain of Life [Jesus Christ] so that we are fully nourished and able to endure the famine for God and His word that is currently sweeping the world. We need to hold out the promise of spiritual water and life to a generation that has turned their backs on God and can brazenly tell us not to use the Bible since “nobody cares”. We are under obligation to present (hold up) Jesus Christ – the all-sufficient Provision – to a lost and dying (spiritually) world.

    Good post. Thank you for sharing the thought-provoking presentation.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Thomas. The Saguaro also, provide shelter and water for birds. Each one is unique and seem to have personalities.:0) They are amazing along with so many other plants unique to that environment. God does magnificent work!

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      1. He is the incomparable Master Creative Genius. He did all this by the Logos – the Eternal Word. “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:19. “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36.

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      2. And made us little creators in Him image and that creativity sets us apart from all other living creatures. We either use our gift to mirror Him or we become creatively evil. Most proclaimed artists today are creatively evil expressing carnality. How desperately we need artists of faith to re-infuse the culture with Christ! The believing blogging world encourages me because there are many such artists but the secular culture keeps us suppressed. Still, blogging is such a personal encouragement to me because there is some really good writers and creative people who reflect God in their work I’m up to late and probably gushing but it’s been nice chatting with you.I’m very curious about what it is like to be a Christian in your part of the world.

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  2. What is it like to be a Christian (2% of the population) in a Hindu (80%) majority country but widely diverse country like India? Wonder how I may tell you privately without antagonizing some!


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