Desert Praise

saguaro cactusDear Servant Leaders,

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

The Saguaro Cactus is an amazing creation. Thriving in the northeastern portion of the Sonora desert, it stands as a symbol of steadfastness, even stubbornness. It seizes the rare dessert rains, soaking in as much as 200 gallons during a single shower from it’s wide network of roots. Some live to be as old as 200 years. Its bloom is a beautiful creamy white flower with a golden pollen center and is the state flower of Arizona. You have probably seen them in pictures, but they are even more awe inspiring when seen in the context of their native habitat. It is a climate most would consider inhospitable. What I love about them is the inspiring images they conjure up in my heart and mind.

To me they symbolize determined praise. With arms stretched to the heavens through the scorching heat of the days and the stark chill of the nights, they simply stand. Drawing from the reservoir within stored during the briefest of rains, they are more than persistent. They are defiant, refusing to shrivel up and die even as other forms of vegetation become tumbleweeds in the wind. In time, the Saguaro will not only survive, but thrive… even bloom, playing an essential role in the health of the entire regions ecosystem.

The servant leader lesson is this – be the Saguaro. True, you may be going through the longest, dryest, hottest season of your life and ministry. And, yes, you may want to uproot and seek out greener pastures. Perhaps God is truly calling you to step up and out on faith? Fine. Discern this thoroughly in prayer, the Word, wise counsel and give it plenty of time. Then, go if God says, “Go!” And, stay if God says, “Stay!” Regardless, determine to give God glory and praise through it all. Store up God’s Word and allow that Word to become a reservoir of faith you can draw from in the desert seasons that come to all servant leaders.

Know this. By faith in Jesus Christ, you will survive. You will thrive. You may not know it in the heat of this moment, but you are essential to the greater spiritual ecosystem that God is cultivating around you and you will bloom again in due season, bringing even greater praise to the One who both created and called you.  

Be the Saguaro,

Tom

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