I had always wanted to go to the desert and see the wildflowers bloom. I read in an article that once a year wildflowers bloom in the desert. I planned to take our family down to Palm Springs from the San Francisco Bay area for the first time, but when I called to book a jeep tour, the company told me that no one knows exactly when flowers bloom in the desert. “We only know they bloom some time between March and May,” they said.
I learned that depending on the conditions of the land, rainfall, and weather, the timing varies every year. Still, I booked the trip, praying that God would allow us to see the wildflowers.
As my family and I zoomed out into the desert later in the spring, there was nothing but dirt, rocks, plentiful Joshua trees, and shrubs dotting the landscape as our jeep drove across the desert plains. I felt pretty disappointed.
“I thought we were going to see wildflowers?” my boys asked.
“Yeah, I guess not,” I shouted above the squeaky jeep ride.
However, thirty minutes later, and to my surprise, our guide stopped by the roadside and walked us over to some plants. “Wildflowers bloom here because they tell us something important is up ahead,” he said with a sparkle in his eyes underneath his sun hat.
He pointed up ahead to a cluster of palm trees in the distance. An oasis was up ahead. Streams in the desert were running underneath the ground we stood on, and the wildflowers plants were drawing water from deep within the desert.
I didn’t know flowers could blossom like that in the desert because nothing along the way told me that something beautiful would emerge from dry wilderness. Yet underneath the barren desert floor where I could not see, life-giving water was flowing.
Are you standing in a wilderness of your own and joy looks out of reach, as you end the year? Do you feel stressed, surrounded by the questions and problems surrounding you? Are you losing hope that beauty will show up along the way?
No matter how dry or barren your life feels now, it’s never too late to choose joy. God’s love and peace is an oasis we can run to, return to, and get refilled by no matter how things appear.
As I stood there in the middle of the oasis of palm trees, marveling at the pool of water flowing out of the ground, I felt an overwhelming peace. My heart was refreshed with joy as I began recalling Scriptures that flowed out life-giving truth:
Nothing is impossible with God.
Luke 1:37 (ESV)
Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up.
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
The wilderness and the dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing.
Isaiah 35:1-2 (HCSB)
God’s Word empowers us and gives us hope. No matter what wilderness or desert of stress we may find ourselves in, we can always return to the oasis of God’s presence and choose joy again.
What are the stresses you’re experiencing? Tell God about it. Come vulnerably and honestly before Him and share your struggles, perhaps your lack of hope, and your tender hope to believe that joy might be possible again.
Friends, as we step into the new year in a couple of days, don’t give up looking for joy. Encourage yourself to believe God has prepared a place for you to blossom with joy in this world. Take your time. There is no rush or expiration date to finding joy. There is room for you to grow and learn what helps you to experience joy in a personal way. Take just one next step to bloom right where you are planted.
Whatever that might look like for you, seek it out in faith, knowing that when we seek it, we will find it. An oasis of joy waiting for you up ahead. It’s never too late to choose joy because you are God’s beloved daughter.
mary ann bell says
Thank you Bonnie. Your words touched my heart and brought me to tears. As i struggle in this season of my life it is getting harder to hold on to hope.
Beth Williams says
Don’t give up on hope & joy. God is walking with you through this wilderness season. He will take your hand & guide you through to the other side. Keep calling out & seeking Him. He will refresh you in His perfect timing.
Bonnie Gray says
Hi Mary, it’s very special to have you share your heart so vulnerably with me and our community here. It blesses my heart to know my words brought you to a tender place of your heart and it encourages me to keep writing and sharing deep from my soul. I understand it feels difficult right in the middle of the struggle. God understands and sees you and many of us relate. I hope you subscribe to my BREATHE newsletter at http://bonniegray.com/subscribe, enjoy listening to my Advent podcast BREATHE: The Stress Less Podcast –where I share more encouragement about hope. I know it will lift your heart up, dear sister!
Beth Williams says
I think Jesus is trying to tell me something. So many posts emails about choosing & finding joy. This might be a year of joy for many after years of heartache, stress & suffering. Who knows? Isaiah had much to say about this in Isaiah 43:18-20 Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up;
do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen,
We need to read that over & over. He provides for us. Just what we need at the right time. He truly is an amazing God. No matter where you are today return to the presence of God. Seek Him wholeheartedly & you will find joy once again.
Bonnie Gray says
thank you, beth, for sharing this beautiful verse !! It is one of my favorites about the wilderness!! streams in the wasteland!!
Linda Sprunt says
Thank you, Bonnie! I really needed to read this today! I’m forwarding it on to my sister, who will also be blessed by what the Lord used you to share today!!
Bonnie Gray says
Dear Linda, what a blessing it is to hear today’s words touch a tender place in your heart — and to have a chance to share encouragement with your sister!! What a loving sister you are, friend! Please pass on my encouragement to her to listen to my special wellness podcast “BREATHE: The Stress Less Podcast”, which will help spark joy! It’s available to listen anywhere podcasts are found and also https://www.lifeaudio.com/breathe-the-stress-less-podcast/ .. I hope you enjoy it too, Linda!
Becky Keife says
His refreshment is always available to us! God is working even when we can’t see or discern it. Yes! Thank you, dear Bonnie, for this beautiful truth today!
Bonnie Gray says
Thank you, Becky, for being a friend who shares the same heart on this journey for JOY!! love you, friend!
Thank you Bonnie. The post today was just what God planned for me to read and reflect on. I have been in a dark season this year with a cancer diagnosis and radiation, as well as family issues, and of course the pandemic. I struggle to find joy in this mess, but I always put my faith In God my Redeemer. I can discover living water in the dry desert.
Thank you for these encouraging words. I so needed them. I’m feeling overwhelmed with being a caregiver. I love my family. I love God. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Asking him to strengthen me as I face these daily challenges! Thanking him for his grace and mercy. Fear not!!!
Maria Gloria says
You always share very comforting words with us. Today was very special. Thank you so much for teaching us to keep finding joy in the midst of our desserts. God bless you greatly and also these beautiful ladies community.
janet sanhamel says
Thank you, you have lifted me up by knowing our Lord is by our side always
Bonnie, I had to smile when I read your post. I too have traveled out to the Mojave Desert searching for wildflowers! There were none to be found and I was so disappointed! But God has good plans. He brings beauty out of the wilderness and He brings joy and peace in all circumstances. Much love to you and your family this Christmas season. I would love to sit down and have a cup of tea with you!
Rebecca Rouse says
Lived in CA several years and spring time is amazing ! We learned very best locations near us for spring time flowers and spent many delightful days enjoyed the beauty!
As I suffer from social anxiety/anxiety, I have my good days and bad days
Nancy Ruegg says
It IS a matter of choosing joy some days; we can’t just wait for it to find US. I love your metaphor, “the oasis of God’s presence,” Bonnie–an image that conjures up rest, relief, refreshment, and more. Our God provides exactly what we need, when we need it. Contemplating him and all the gifts he bestows allows joy to come bubbling to the surface!
This post really helped me realize I need to stop and look at the good.
Beautifully written Bonnie. Thank you.
Amy Paquette says
Thank you for this refreshing reminder…just what my soul needed today!