Springs In The Desert
“Springs in the desert” can be fully appreciated only by the people of the far off East, who have experienced the hardships of long marches over endless stretches of sand, with burning heat like a monstrous furnace. A spring or fountain with its cool, refreshing waters, and shade trees where the weary travelers find rest from fever stricken bodies — life, hope and cheer spring up.The word “desert” stands for desolation and gloom, while the word “spring” stands for faith, hope and an optimistic view of life.
What is it that determines whether a man find life a garden or a desert? Some lay the blame on fate, others on heredity, still others on environments. But let us remember, life, success and happiness do not depend upon circumstances or environments. If you do not like your environments, you can change them. Heredity cannot keep you down. Use your God-given will power and imagination and rise above it. Change your thought life and you will change the entire outlook.
We are living in a world that is war torn, broken hearted and like a moral desert. But right in the midst of this desert we can find springs of happiness, peace, power and plenty. Take Hagar, when she was cast out of Abraham’s home, and journeyed through the wilderness, water gave out. Both she and her child were famishing and ready to die. As she cried to the God of Abraham, we are told that God “opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” And she found a spring in the desert! How true this is of our very lives. We famish right in the midst of plenty.
What are some of the springs in the desert?
First, the spring of faith. Faith in God is like a spring in the desert. Faith is an inward power by which we grasp unseen possibilities. It is the hand that reaches out into the darkness and the unseen and takes hold of things that do not appear. Faith sees through mountains of difficulties and pierces the light on the other side. Faith is the pioneer of the soul which goes ahead and plans large things for life. A man of faith will not be discouraged. Faith is like an anchor which holds steadfast amidst the storms of life.
We not only need faith in God, but we need to have faith in ourselves. Believe in yourself. Men of less talent and gifts have succeeded because they had faith. Doubt yourself and none will believe in you.
Then, we need to have faith in our fellowmen. No reason to lose faith in everyone because some have proved untrue and deceived you. Why sour on the human family? Remember, there are millions living whose hearts are pure gold, who can be trusted and believed in. Remember, discouragement puts one on the dark, gloomy side of life. It freezes your fighting blood and paralyzes every power of the soul. Faith has a bright outlook on life. It puts a silver lining beneath every dark cloud, and turns night into day.
Second, joy is a spring in the desert. The writer has studied and watched the effect of joy upon the heart. We don’t need any argument here to prove that joy is the correct state for the soul. Every power of the soul seems to be aroused, and hidden gifts brought out under the stimulating energy of heavenly joy. The face shines, the eyes sparkle, and it seems to put a spring in the heels. People filled with joy go forth refreshed, and like Samson carrying heavy burdens, sweep everything before them.
But let a people lose this heavenly, wine-like joy — notice the effect. Duty becomes a burden. The chariot wheels of the soul pull heavy through the sands of time.
Joy is like a heavenly wine which puts the force, power and go into the soul.
Third, love is a spring in the desert. Love is a purifier. It drives out anger, jealousy and all the foes of the human soul. Malice, anger, envy cannot live in the soul of pure love. Love is a sweetener. It sweetens the disposition, tempers the tongue and gives one a strong, winning personality.
Love is a beautifier. In this age when the beauty craze seems to be driving people insane, to where women will resort to the painful operation of face lifting, and millions of dollars are spent for artificial beauty, it is wonderful to discover the secret of real beauty. Did you know that love is so powerful that it affects the manners and the tones of the voice? The very face which was one time hard and flinty, takes on a soft tender look. Homely people under this blessing look beautiful. Love brings cheer, hope, good will. It is a spring in the desert.
Fourth, hope is a spring in the desert. Hope has to do with the future. What would like be without hope? It is hope in that mother’s breast which causes her to watch over that little crib, day and night, to nurse back to life and health that little form, which she hopes some day will rise up and call her blessed.
It was hope which put a light on Columbus’ ship. When others wanted to turn back, with a face set like a flint, gazing out over a trackless sea, he cried and said to the sailors, “I, the commander, said to sail on, sail on and on.” Without hope life would be dark indeed. Hope is a spring in the desert.
Fifth, friendship is a spring in the desert. In this age when men are losing confidence in each other, when public confidence is almost a thing of the past, when politicians make promises only to be broken, it is a blessed thing to feel and know that one has a few real, personal, warm friends. Real friends cannot be bought, they must be won. Friendship is fed on confidence and love. Blessed is the man who can count on a few friends.
A true friend is one who will stick to you whether you be popular or persecuted. A true friend is one who stays with you when gossip gets on legs and stalks through the land. He will protect your name and character. Reader, if you have a few friends you have a gold mine, and a spring in the desert.
Sixth, contentment is a spring in the desert. A person who has a contented mind is worth millions. Some think contentment is only found in riches and luxuries. You will find more discontent and heartaches among the multi-millionaires than any class on earth. Dr. French Oliver said in a camp meeting in which the writer was present, that he was in a millionaire’s home. This man said to him, “Oliver, eleven of my millionaire friends have committed suicide in the last twelve months.” Which goes to prove that happiness and contentment are not found in things external.
Real contentment comes from the inside. It is a state of the mind, a condition of the heart and life. Contentment means harmony, rest, quietness of soul, and when all the discordant notes of sin are cast out. It is then the Dove of peace settles and nestles in a contented breast, and cries “peace be still.”
Seventh, prayer is a spring in the desert. What is prayer? Prayer is given to us under the figure of incense. What was incense? “It was composed of spices of different kind ground or beaten very small and then burned in a glowing censor so that their form disappeared and their own life went out and a sweet fragrance went up.” Then the incense was crushed before it was placed on the golden altar. It is the crushed heart that really and truly prays.
Again the incense was burned. It is only as our prayers are touched by the fires from heaven’s altar that they really ascend to God. Prayer is a fragrance. “Perfume is the most delicate and exquisite form of matter.” It is much finer than color. It is invisible. Therefore prayer is that invisible force going up to God. There is what is known as ordinary praying and extraordinary praying. Whenever the believer reaches that state to where the Holy Ghost takes his prayer and very thoughts and carries them up into the very presence of God, something happens. Something takes place. Revivals are kindled; devils are cast out; the sick are healed; heaven and earth come together. Shall we find these springs in the desert? Achsah, Caleb’s daughter, found these springs. Do you remember when she asked her father for a very special favor and blessing? She asked for springs, and her father gave “the upper and nether springs.” The upper springs stands for higher and better things — springs of faith that keep us trusting in spite of discouragement, opposition, and devil power; springs of prayer that are kindled by the Holy Ghost which are heaven breathed in which we know God will answer; springs of love which keep the heart warm and sweetens the dispositions, tempers, and help us to love the unlovable; springs of joy which burst from the eternal hilltop of glory; springs of hope which give us a bright outlook on life. These are some of the springs to be found in the desert.
Your life can be like a desert with its burning sands, or like a well watered garden. It all depends on what attitude you take toward life. Let faith mount the throne of the soul, turning failures into victory, and every desert place into green pastures and springs of gladness forever.