The most 'unfertile' ground
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! (Psalm 63:1-3)
Growing up in the Arizona desert, I have walked many a dry wash, climbed over huge boulders, and been pricked by more than my share of cacti. It is dry, filled with all kinds of dangers, and barely livable in many parts. Water is not easily found, nor is it readily available if you were to drill for it. Many places have to truck it in right to this day. You can be so 'dry' in the desert that you actually crave water. It doesn't seem all that fertile, does it? What seems like the most 'unfertile' ground in our lives may actually be the place where the greatest growth occurs. Something you may not realize is how many 'distractions' are removed when you are in that desert place in life. It is as though the only thing you begin to focus on is Jesus, because all the other stuff you had been distracted by just doesn't matter when you get good and thirsty for his presence. I think of the dry places as 'fertile ground' - they have been the times when God does some of the greatest work IN me because I have drawn closer to him without all those distractions pulling me away from him. Maybe we don't actually want to go into these dry places, but if we find ourselves in the midst of the 'desert' spiritually or emotionally, we might just want to spend some time getting to know him just a bit deeper right there.
David was born into a family of sheep herders. He was to follow along in the footsteps of his father, Salmon. He was not raised to be a king, but he was raised in a home of faith - he knew his God and he served him even from the earliest of his days. He learned much in his early life, tending the sheep out on the lonely grazing lands, moving them from one grazing place to another while protecting them from all manner of evil that sought to end their lives. Even after being anointed as king, he didn't immediately 'live the good life' in the court of the king. We find him hiding out in caves, scaling peaks he could use as a vantage point in escaping from the armies of Saul. His life wasn't 'worry-free', but it was 'rich' because wherever he went, his God was right there with him. Can you say the same? Do you find the dry places in your life to be the most 'fertile'? It may not feel like it when you are wandering around in that 'wilderness', but when you finally come into those places where 'barrenness' seems to be replaced by 'beauty' and 'peace', you realize how much was accomplished in the desert.
One of the most profound things about the desert is the thirst you develop while there. Maybe this is why God allows for us to experience those 'dry places' in life - so we will develop a hunger and thirst for righteousness! Remember, what seems like the most 'unfertile' ground may actually be the most fertile place you experience. Just sayin!