Mirage or Oisas
As I wandered aimlessly, an oasis appeared before me offering me all the things I so desperately needed and desired. It promised to fulfill all my hopes and dreams. I ran to it, my lips parched, my heart aching with the longing to be filled. I greedily plunged both hands into the crystal clear water and brought it to my hungry lips. Not just to take a little sip. No, I wanted more. I needed it, had to have it. I had been without for too long and thought that I could go no longer.
However, the instant I tried to swallow, I realized the water was not what it had appeared to be. In fact, there was barely any water at all. Instead of refreshing me, the murky, sandy water had a foul smell and a bitter taste. The promise of fulfillment sifted through my fingers with the sand. Not only had my thirst not been quenched; the dirty sand had absorbed what little moisture I had left, and with it my hope as well, leaving me even thirstier than I was before. My lips that were parched and dry; now stung from the little pieces of sand that had embedded themselves within the bleeding cracks. They were a constant reminder of my stupidity.
I tried to lick my lips, to relieve some of the pain, but there was no relief. The moisture, the hope, the dreams had all evaporated-just like the mirage before me. Why could I not see it for what it really was? How could I have been so stupid, blind, and greedy? I had not really wanted to see. I had wanted to believe the false promises. I wanted to quench my desires. I wanted, thought I needed, to have it. Now! How could I wait to have my very basic needs met? How could I have known if I had just looked a little harder, a little farther, and waited a little longer, I could have truly been filled, satisfied, and refreshed.
I barely had the strength to lift my head, how could I go on. For a second my focus cleared and I saw the real oasis-or, was it yet another mirage. Was it worth using every ounce of strength I had left to try to reach it, or would I again be utterly disappointed. I had to try. There were others counting on me. They needed me. What did I have to lose? I could lay there in my beaten down state and die, or I could try again to reach the life-giving water. It seemed to be so far away. I was sure I would never make it. It was probably just more empty promises anyway.
I decided to pray. Oh, I had prayed before. But, I had prayed for my own way. Even when I knew in my heart what I was seeking was not right, I plunged in anyway only to emerge more broken, hurt, and disappointed. O how I prayed I had learned my lesson. I always had to do so the hard way. This time I was truly praying for guidance and trying hard to listen. I knew that only He could lead me to the real thing. He was the only one who could completely quench my thirst. Where was He? Why could I not hear Him? Didn’t He care that I was slowly dying? I cried out to Him until I could cry no more.
Exhausted, I collapsed sure death would close its grip. My desire to live nearly gone, I made no attempt to move. Then I felt His strong arms gently lift me up. I lay limp and lifeless in His loving arms. I hoped that He would carry me out of this world of deep searing pain. Instead He walked through the desert unaffected by the horrendous heat.
Eventually we arrived at the oasis I had seen. The shade was cool. The water was sweeter than anything I had ever tasted. Even the comfort of my little home could not compare with this place. He held me gently in His arms and tenderly nursed my deep, painful wounds washing the dirt away with His very being. He cared for me, loved me, refreshed me, and gave me back my life.
When I finally arose and looked into the pool, I saw a beautiful creature I did not recognize. “Who is this beautiful creature,” I asked. He smiled tenderly and said that it was me. I looked down at myself. I was covered with horrible, ugly scars. How could this reflection possibly be me? He explained that the pool reflected what He saw, not what I saw.
I threw my arms around Him and thanked Him for everything He had done. I told Him how much I loved Him and the oasis. I told Him I wanted to stay with Him forever. I was shocked when He slowly shook His head and told me that I could not stay. He explained that there were others lost in the desert. He said they needed someone to show them the way to the oasis so that they too could receive the life-giving water.
I did not want to go and began to plead with Him as a child would plead with their father. “But what if I get hurt? What if I get lost again? What if another mirage leads me astray? It is too hard out there,” I cried. He said that He would be with me, that I might not always be able to see His face or to feel His presence, but He would be there.
He cautioned me about the heat, the blowing sand, and the mirages that would appear before me. He explained how they would try to interfere with the plans He had for me. All of them, He said, would work together to distract me and lead me away from His path. Again I cried out begging Him to let me stay. How could I ever withstand the desert on my own?
Knowing my thoughts, He gently reminded me to take time each day to be still and quiet. This, He said, would help me to feel His presence and restore my faith. It would also be the only way that I would be able to truly hear His voice since He speaks softly. He gave me a vessel filled with the living water from the oasis. He said that I was to keep it with me, to drink from it daily. He assured me that I could drink as much and as often as I needed to. The life contained within the vessel would always be fresh and new providing whatever I needed.
Still, I was afraid. I wanted to stay with Him. The last thing I wanted to do was to travel the desert alone. Yet, it might have been better to be alone. I was not completely alone. I had others I was responsible for. They were small and needy, and blamed me for the desert trail we had to follow. It was left to me to teach them the way.
He said that it was never His plan to send someone out alone. He knew the journey would be a long and difficult one; one that would often make me feel lonely and rejected. But for now, it was the only way. He assured me there would be others along the way that knew Him and would help to encourage me to continue on. “Go now my child,” He said, “and bring others to me.”
Empowered by a vision of coming home to the oasis where I could spend eternity with the One who restored my soul and saved my life, I set out. In my heart I could hear Him softly saying, “Remember, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Keep your eyes on me for I am the way, the truth, and the life. One day soon we will be together forever.”
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