Camino tedioso. ¡No se duerma! (Spanish for “Monotonous road. Do not fall asleep!”) It wasn’t the first such warning sign we had passed. For several hours, as far as the eye could see, there had been little but unending stretches of desert, saguaro and candelabra cactuses, and the occasional mesquite bush. My husband and I were crossing Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, the third-largest desert in the Western Hemisphere.
A while later we stopped at a gas station—the only building of any kind we had come to in over an hour—and I got out to stretch my legs. As my husband was paying for the gas, I struck up a conversation with the young attendant.
“Are you from here?”
“It must be difficult to live in such an isolated place. Don’t you get lonely and bored?” I asked.
“No, ma’am,” he replied, “because God is here. I see Him in the wildlife. ...” He began enumerating. “There are the chameleons, the coyotes, the rattlesnakes, the roadrunners scurrying after lizards, the golden eagles searching for black-tailed jackrabbits. And from this dry, sandy soil He gives us the delicious dragon fruit and nopales (prickly pears).” His candor and enthusiasm were as refreshing as they were unexpected.
Later, as we continued to pass through what seemed unending barren wastelands, I thought about the young man’s words and was reminded of others to whom God came in desert places.
Hagar fled into the desert, but was found and blessed by God there.1
Moses received his call from God in the Sinai Desert,2 and it was there that God later gave him the Ten Commandments.3
Elijah took refuge in a barren wilderness and heard God’s voice there.4
John the Baptist lived in the desert until he received his call from God to prepare the way for the coming Messiah.5
Jesus was tempted and overcame Satan while on a desert retreat before embarking on His public ministry.6
God sent Philip to explain the way of salvation to the Ethiopian eunuch on a desert road.7
Are you going through a dry, desolate, “desert” experience? Take heart. God is in the desert.
The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. … They shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God.—Isaiah 35:1–2