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Refreshment in the Desert

How blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
Passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a spring;
The early rain also covers it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength.
Psalm 84:5-7

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You . . .
Do I seek blessings? Of course.
Am I always sure of the route to take to receive a blessing? No.
Well, here is a route that is guaranteed.
The man who has come to know that You are his strength is a man
who is blessed.

If I have come to know that You are my strength, then in all probability I’ve been drawing strength from some other source–myself, no doubt–and this “other” strength has disappointed me. It hasn’t worked. It hasn’t been effective. Perhaps I’ve tried many avenues seeking to rejuvenate that strength, and, after humiliating failures, frustration, emotional pain, and step-by-sometimes-painful step, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t have the strength.

For me this has been a process whereby I have come to know something that I didn’t know before. I have arrived at a point of truth and realization: My strength is in You. Therefore I am blessed.

That leaves no room for doubt, for hesitancy, for argument. The question is, If I have come to know that God is my strength, why am I not always blessed? The answer: Because I do not always walk in what I have come to know!

In whose heart are the highways to Zion . . .

Said another way: In whose heart there is a deep desire to walk in Your will.

As the new creature in Christ Jesus that I am, it is my deep desire to walk in Your will. I now have “the laws of God written on my heart,” and I “joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,” so this requirement has been met. It was met by You at the cross.

And once again, the man whose deep desire is to walk in Your will is a man who is blessed–unequivocally. This blessing is mine as I commit myself to walk in Your will, trusting in Your strength. And this doesn’t mean I will always “perform” perfectly. That isn’t what it says. It has to do with my heart’s desire.

Passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a spring . . .

The valley of Baca, a desert. This Scripture doesn’t identify what the difficulties of the “desert” may be, or how intense, how painful, how lengthy, how wrought with frustration–just difficult circumstances that plunge into my life. I would say that anything, small or large, that I find difficult to handle would qualify, from a small irritation to a devastating, tragic event.

These very difficulties become a source–a spring. But a spring reached only through hardships. This indicates another “process”: Difficulties were not always this way for me, but they have become a source. A change takes place. I take another route. I view the difficult times that come into my life differently.

A source. A source of heat is a fire. A source of light is the sun. A source of vegetables is a garden–a source is where something originates. It’s hard for me to see “difficulties” as the source where refreshment is going to be found. But I have experienced it, so I bypass the logical deduction and go with what I have come to know as Truth: With Your strength as my strength, desiring Your will in my heart, the desert of hardship becomes for me a spring.

I picture a person gulping water, either on all fours by a riverbed or drinking from a large glass with water spilling over the edges onto his coat–no thought of cost, of whose property the stream is on, of wet clothing–just satisfying the deep thirst.

What happens to a man who drinks deeply from a spring? He is strengthened, refreshed. . . the water ministers to his whole system. And I must keep in mind that the spring is God’s power, not mine.

Is this power–this source–capable of meeting my problems? I would be hesitant to answer if I had not experienced this myself. For example: I have never experienced flying in a helicopter, so I can’t discuss that with you. I can tell you how I think it might be, based on what I’ve heard from other people, but I don’t know for sure. To experience something means I can speak with some authority on that subject: I know what it is like because I have been there. Well, I have drunk from His cool water when I’ve been so very tired and thirsty, and I know what happens. I have experienced it. And I assure you, it meets every test.

The early rain also covers it with blessings . . .

I can’t think of anything that would communicate more beautifully just how blessed the man is whose strength is in You and whose heart desires Your will than the descriptive phrase “invigorating, early spring rain.” Everything about it is so clean, so fresh, so alive. The air is sweet. The birds are singing. The drops of water sparkle on the flowers and trees, and the sky is startlingly blue. I want to take a deep breath and throw back my shoulders, facing with new strength my world. I am refreshed. I am blessed. You have touched my life.

They go from strength to strength . . .

I do not have to be strong. I tap into His strength. Is His strength sufficient? What a ridiculous question! And yet, how often do I, through my behavior, express doubt as to the sufficiency of His strength? I can’t “run out” of His strength. When I’ve exhausted one supply, there’s another ready and waiting–it’s never-ending. I go from strength to strength.

O Lord, I thank You that the difficulties that come into my life today can be a source of refreshment and peace and joy for me. And how I thank You for my new heart and for the strength that You have given me for meeting every second of this new day.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.