• Andrew Comiskey

Transforming the Desert

‘At once the Spirit sent Him out into the desert, and He was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended Him’ (Mk. 1:12-13).


The Spirit invites us to follow Jesus into the desert. Hard to imagine in our deep winter freeze. No matter—burning sand or burning cold—Jesus transforms the wasteland into a garden.


He commissions demons and beasts to rouse us. Wake up! All is not well! Victories, hard-won, have softened into sloth; alien fires enticed and now warm us, killing us softly. ‘Paint our dragons red, Jesus!’ Forty days of Lent seem too brief for Him saving us again. Yet save us He will! That’s why He ventured desert-ward in the first place—to blaze a path and loose a fountain in our barrenness.


His obedience, our surrender. No other posture. Wild things arrest us on well-trod paths and taunt: ‘No getting out of this your way!’ No more tricks…only Jesus now. Maybe that’s why God, through Hosea, invited divided Israel into the desert. It was not to scourge her but to save her; He ‘allured her’ as to restore original beauty. Only God can transform prostitutes to virgins. Only the divine Bridegroom can prepare for Himself His Bride. He does so in the desert—a place of leanness, of undivided attention. In light of our divides, the desert reveals Love that unites us, mends our integrity.


‘I will lead you into the desert and speak tenderly to you. There I will give you back your vineyards and will make the Valley of Achor {judgment} a door of hope. There you will sing as in the days of your youth…’ (Hosea 2:14-15)


My friend Beth from Atlanta says He recreates us in the desert. Maybe so. She has been the human source of ‘living waters’ in her church for the last 18 years. Troubled by a lesbian relationship 35 years ago, she discovered Living Waters in a charismatic Baptist Church in Boston; there, in our first group run outside CA, Jesus transformed her burning sand into a pool (Is. 35:7). She wound up in Atlanta and vowed to recreate for herself (and every thirsty soul) a pool of mercy in her new church.


She did just that. We rejoiced with Beth last week in Atlanta at blessed Church of the Apostles where we celebrated over 54 teams of wounded healers and Living Waters/Cross Current groups that Beth oversaw there.


One woman followed Jesus into the desert where He released a fountain. Not too complicated--Jesus overcame the desert and invites us to transform ours. He ‘satisfies our needs in a sun-scorched (or frost-bitten) land and strengthens our frames’ (Is. 58:11), so that our wastelands become gardens. Grateful and fruitful, we give generously.


Thank you, Beth, for encouraging us as we re-enter Lenten encounter and refinement, 2021.

Desert Stream

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