The desert is where we chose to live. Strange? To some people it will seem so. And yet in the high desert of central New Mexico where we built our home, we found a loveliness in the great brooding stillness. With the foothills of a mountain range close behind us, we can gaze out in the other three directions for miles and miles to other mountains and mesas far in the distance. To us, the big sky and vast expanses of land seem so full of God. We do not wonder that He used to take His people out into such a wilderness to teach them.
There are no man-made distractions here at our desert abode. The deep, winding canyons, the varied cacti and the waving grasses, the long, gently swelling ridges, and the vibrant sunsets painted all across the western sky like a magnificent signature on the end of each day, all are God’s handiwork. Here one’s thoughts cannot help but be turned to the high places of human thought and wonderings. Come here, and you, too, will hear the call of eternity in your heart.
There is great value in stillness. In the daily rush of our busy lives it is often very challenging to be able to get stilled within. Inner calm eludes us. Even if we can retreat briefly, perhaps into a garden, or to walk along a seashore, or into the privacy of our own chambers, we may yet find it difficult to get still enough to shut out the clamor of the many voices of men and the demanding cries of the cares of life. Something deep within us yearns to feel the pulse of the Infinite, to go away somehow far from life's babbling discords, and become attuned to what will connect us with lasting meaning.
There is One, who long ago, after looking upon the hard labors of His friends and seeing them weary, even oppressed, said tenderly to them, “Come aside by yourselves into a desert place, and rest awhile” (Mark 6:30-31). Even now He still calls to us today, “Come walk with me, come to the shadows of my desert-rest, come and just be with me, my child - and I will give you rest. My presence will breathe peace into your restless, weary breast. Only come…”
Although our actual desert place has been conducive for us to this “coming aside,” and has greatly facilitated our being able to become stilled within, such that we have found valued rest for our souls, we recognize that going to a specific geographical location on our globe is not really what is necessary. For some that is impossible to do. But there is a way available for each and every one of us to “come aside and rest awhile”.
We named our little homestead, our retreat in the desert, the “Door of Hope”. No matter how you may have felt in the past about solitude, friend, begin now to try to embrace it. Get alone. Spend time, often and long, alone - alone with God. Deep within your own heart, it is possible to find your own “door of hope."
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