Month 3:26, Week 4:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year 5935:082 AM|
Omer Count Day 18/50
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 27 June 2011
The Thar Desert
Lessons for the Spiritual Life
Have courage in your convictions,
The Thar Desert that spreads through twelve districts of the Indian state of Rajathan and Gujurat on the Pakistani border is a tough place to live. And yet it supports a hardy population of some 18 million people who constantly fight the desert sands. Many a settlement has become buried beneath it. With very low humidity and temperatures fluctuating between 41°C by day and freezing point at night, the people of this region have had to learn over the centuries how to protect and provide for themselves.
"Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them lechem (bread) from heaven to eat.' Then Yah'shua (Jesus) said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the lechem (bread) from heaven, but My Father gives you the true lechem (bread) from heaven. For the lechem (bread) of Elohim (God) is He who comes down from heaven and gives chayim (life) to the world.' Then they said to Him, "Master, give us this lechem (bread) always.' And Yah'shua (Jesus) said to them, 'I am the lechem (bread) of chayim (life). He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst'" (John 6:31-35, NKJV).
Long and severe drouts are a way of life that can result in unforseen misery and hardship every two or three decades. In 1987 a particularly bad one affected 25 million people and 30 million livestock that resulted in a major exodus. That's five times the population of Sweden!
Drouts are, of course, catastrophic but the people must also live with the daily Loo or the hot sand- and dust-laden winds which blow enormous quantities of sand everywhere, making movement difficult every afternoon and often lasting into the night. This forces the locals to wear special protective clothing such as turbans and tunics to reduce the impact of the heat and blowing sand. Huts are round-shaped and villages are protected by thorny, dried-up bushes and walls across the openings and gateways to prevent communities being buried in sand.
With food in short supply in such an environment, food is very basic and usually consists of butter-milk, red chilli chutney and raw onions. To survive in this harsh climate, two rules always have to be followed: (1) Never leave home on an empty stomach, and (2) carry lots of water when you set out. To fail to do so could cost you your life.
All of this reminds me of our short span of life on earth with all its risks and challenges. When compared to Heaven and the Millennial Earth to come, life on this planet is not at all unlike the Thar Desert. Spiritual drout - hard times - can strike us suddenly and wipe out everything we ever knew or had - years of hard labour. And if that is not enough, we face our daily sandstorms in the form of hardships, uncertainties, opposition, marital discord, economic pressures, and many, many others. Like I said yesterday, Yahweh does not promise us a problem-free life but He does promise us consistent deliverance if we trust and obey Him.
For those living in the Thar, eating a good meal and carrying a lot of water is critical for survival. For the believer, Yah'shua (Jesus) is our Living Bread (Jn.6:35,41,48). Without it we will spiritually go hungry and eventually starve to death. He is also the Living Water (Jn.4:14). Without it we will spiritually go thirsty and eventually die of dehydration, for we are ¾ water ourselves. The bread (lechem) is the living Word (Davar) of Yahweh in our souls (Mt.4:4; Dt.8:3) and the water is the love (ahavah) that is given to us through the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Without the Davar and Ahavah we are nothing. And without the barrier of protection around our lives which is Torah we will be swamped by the sands of the world and at length become buried by the consequences of sin.
Today is a particularly tough day of remembrance for me, a day of tragedy and heartbreak. On it in particular (though I do it every day too in prayer) I spiritually go outside, like the father of the prodigal son, and wait for those who have claimed a premature inheritance and have gone out into the world to squander their spiritual wealth on sin, wealth in the form of lechem (bread) and mayim (water) which they obtained in my bayit (house) and the Bayit of Yahweh. There is a time when such runs out, as it did for the prodigal son, and all that if left is the food of pigs - fleshy 'food' that leads only to death.
Reconciling ourselves to the life desert which is Thar (obviously is it viewed differently by those who have no contrast with heaven, which comes only from being born again) is, I believe, a part of maturing and becoming wise. We have the hope of Yah'shua's (Jesus') return but in the meantime we must learn to prosper in the desert through daily sandstorms and the occasional drout and famine. Life goes on in the Thar just as it must in our own lives. We must sow, water and reap, for we get no other opportunity in the eternities to ever do so again. Today counts. The Thar counts. Embrace it and prosper in Messiah!
but be humble enough to change if you are wrong
 R.C.Sharma , Thar: The Great Indian Desert (Tiger Books International, Twickenham, England: 1998)