“O, God,You are my God; Early will I see you; My soul thirsts for You In a dry and thristy land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:1-5
A cactus lives in a dry and thirsty land. It’s an interesting plant, really. It’s not a tree–but a plant. It protects itself from the heat with a thick “skin” , it absorbs water and stores it for future use. A fully grown Saguaro cactus can absorb 3,000 litres of water in 10 days. That’s a lot of water. I don’t think I’ve consumed that much water in my lifetime. But the cactus is smart, it prepares for the days of living in a dry and thirsty land so that it can live off the marrow and fatness. Even more impressive is that a cactus can hydrate through it’s pores by absorbing the condensation from fog.
Every inch of it’s thorny prickly “BODY” cries out to a God, with it’s hand lifted, waiting for hydration. A majority of the time, God does not seem to provide–well not in that moment. He provided prior, and he will provide again. And the cactus was “smart” enough to store up God’s provision to live off of in the future.
Am I talking about storing up our earthly treasures so that in times of financial difficulty we will be taken care of—umm, no, not really. I’m sure that’s a good idea, but I think God can use the cactus to teach us something so much more important, something so much more meaningful to our spirits.
A cactus takes the promise of God, the promise of his lovingkindness, to care and provide, and holds onto that promise to sustain it’s life. God has proven his lovingkindness to this cactus by designing it to handle all circumstances. He placed this cactus in the desert-in the dry and thirsty land–because he knows that this cactus will be able to not only sustain, but to thrive.
God promises to take care of his creation–the cactus, you and me– regardless of the weather, the drought, or whatever the season of your life. And if we can store up those promises in our heart, and trust the promise maker, we can thrive in the dry and thirsty land of our own lives.
And when God doesn’t send the rain, or provide the river, we will still be able to say to him, ” Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips.”
We must learn to be content with the marrow and fatness, with the provision set before us. We must learn to live by faith that God’s lovingkindness is better than our own lives, that if he never ever answers our prayers the way we want him to, that doesn’t change the very character of who God is–loving and kind.
Like a cactus, we must stand still in the heat, and the dry land, with our hands raised in gratitude for all that he’s given us, holding on to the promise of hope and love only found in Christ.
I know I struggle with this often. God shows me how he provides for me, day after day, yet it seems impossible for me to just stand still in the desert. I get anxious and weary, wondering why oh why did I have to be a cactus…why can’t I be one of those big rain forest trees?? where it rains all the time?? Instead, God seems to take me in and out of rain and fog, where I must absorb his truth and life and hold onto it. And He is steadfast, promising me a future and a hope, if I can just be still and wait awhile…sigh. But it is only in the seeking his provision and waiting for it, will I receive His power and His glory. The power and glory of Him that my Spirit thirsts for.
How about you? Are you a cactus? Do you have to hang out in the dry and thirsty land waiting on the rain and the fog so that you can fill yourself up again?