Thursday, November 12, 2015


The photo, captured at a much higher altitude, jumped out at me. Mountains bathed in green flanked one small row of trees, bursting with autumn colors. The caption my son wrote underneath it struck home. "Think you know where the water runs through the canyon?" Of course. It was obvious when seen from a much higher location. And I realized, the further the ascent, the better the view. Truths we cannot see at ground level become obvious when we are given a loftier perspective.

I think about the photo he shared. This particular mountain range is planted in the high desert. At its base are cacti and mesquite trees, rattlers and javelinas. The contrast between the two is striking.

Oh, the desert! We've been talking about desert seasons in my small group. Boy, do I know all about them! When I'm there, I often feel as though they're a punishment...a consequence of my actions or inactions. But why? The desert has a beauty and power unique to its terrain. And just like the mountaintop experiences, it has its own gems to offer.

Desert seasons can be holy ground. It's there we learn to trust God more deeply and unconditionally. I have learned, when I press into Him during the stretches of barrenness, I encounter Him in ways I don't when I'm sitting high on the mountaintops.

Again, I look at those trees in the photo, bursting with fall foliage. "Think you know where the water runs through the canyon?" I see another truth. Even when we find ourselves walking the dry and dusty roads of a desert season, we can still thrive and flourish. If our roots are planted deeply along God's river of Living Water, He will sustain us in those parched places. We will stand out, glorifying Him in the midst of our rugged terrain.

I love how nature speaks to me, and how it so often reflects truths about our Creator. It can also teach us much about ourselves, the paths we walk, and the seasons we encounter. And this photo he shared? It reminds me. Stay firmly planted by the River of Life. Embrace each season, whether climbing new heights or camped in a dry desert. If I do, God will take even the barren chapters and create something beautiful. Like a tiny row of trees, bursting with autumn glory.

Copyright 2015 by Julie Cowell. All rights reserved.

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." ~Isaiah 43:19 ESV

"Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" ~John 7:38 ESV

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