Blooms in the Desert
I have spent most of my adult life in the desert, living in a desolate wasteland surrounded by sand and Muslims. In that barren place I have found beauty. I have seen the Lord bring forth the pinkest of flowers out of the driest of earth and shed the light of Truth in the darkness of Islam. Few things compare to the beauty of seeing the Lord perform the miraculous in the desert—the shear impossibility of it, breathtaking and faith-filling.
Over two years ago, we returned to the US to take a stateside assignment. Although we believed in the eternal importance of this particular assignment, the real reason we came home was to adopt a child. The barrenness surrounding us in the desert infiltrated our home and our lives when we discovered we could not have biological children. Our only hope for expanding our family of two would be through adoption.
I couldn’t help but see the correlation between the barrenness of the Arab World without an adequate light of Jesus and the barrenness of our home without the joy that comes with new life. In both places there is a longing, a desperation, that simply cannot be met without divine intervention.
We were so thankful the stateside assignment presented itself at exactly the right time that fit us perfectly. It seemed the Lord was working everything out so we could bring a little one into our family. But as the weeks turned into months, which turned into years, our assignment changed but the longing for a child remains unmet. As I contemplate our situation, knowing that we will return to the field in the not so distant future with or without a child, I can’t help but compare my barren experiences.
In the physical desert of the Arab World I look for the Lord to do the impossible--to make himself known to Muslims, to plant his church in the heart of Islam. The dryness of the air and of the hearts of Muslims causes me to cry out in desperation for the Lord to do something quickly so that not another soul leaves this world trapped behind the veil of Islam. I beg the Lord for opportunities to share his truth knowing that he loves Muslims more than I ever could and that he longs for them to be in relationship with him.
As a wife without a child, my barrenness causes me to cry out in desperation for the Lord to fill our empty arms with new life. I prostrate myself on the floor next to our vacant crib passionately begging the Lord to do something quickly so that we will have the privilege of raising a little life to love Jesus and Muslims knowing he loves the child I long for more than I ever could.
This season of barrenness has led to a new depth of desperation. I am desperate for the Lord to act on our behalf, providing a child for us. I am desperate for the Lord to act on our behalf, planting churches around the Arab World. But more than that, I am desperate for the Lord. In this season fraught with pain and suffering, I have been placed in the middle of a desert wasteland and everywhere I look is sand as far as I can see.
And still God is good.
I don’t know if we will ever have the desires of our heart. But I am confident that flowers will bloom out of this season of barrenness. Certain that the Lord will be glorified in our pain, I know the Lord is creating good out of all of this—good within me in this desert season.
And I know that when we return to the field in about 18 months we will see the Lord glorified in the desert wasteland of the Arab World.