Violent winds suddenly invade the scorched desert wilderness, instantly turning it into a sand-filled tempest. The wind snatches up millions of sand grains - savagely heaving them to and fro. Empowered by the wind, the sand becomes an abrasive assailant against the rugged terrain of the valley called Achor. Nothing is able to withstand its devastating blast.
But things are not always as they seem, for in the midst of natureís cruel lashing stands a solitary plant. It is incredibly vulnerable to the adverse elements. Despite the deadly conditions, the withered plant tenaciously holds its place in the parched earth. Unable to hear the roar of the wind, but able to feel the full brunt of its ravaging force, the single stem bends awkwardly with each burst of the windís unrelenting fury. The plantís flexibility, even though dead, is an enigma. Perched on top of the stem is the plantís seed housing - the dried up remains of a once vivacious flower. The assault of the wind tears asunder the casing and its precious seed is abducted by the raging wind...scattered...lost forever.
At an unknown distance from the lone desert plant, the airborne seeds are suddenly dumped by the hostile wind like despised refuse. Without mercy, the seeds are left for dead on the barren ground. Moments later, as if driven by a vindictive after-thought, the wind again assaults the seeds with its harsh breath, burying them with sand. Their futile flight has abruptly ended in a shallow grave. A second death, final in its lonely silence...unnoticed...insignificant.
The cruel wind departs the valley as suddenly as it appeared and is replaced by unending days of stifling heat and frigid nights. The unruly elements demand their place in the brutal and unyielding desert landscape. But, as in all extremes, the unexpected happens...
The usual monotony of the sun-bleached day has been shrouded in grey, bilious clouds. Without warning, the heavens rend above, sending down huge raindrops, which fall at random on the burning desert sand. A peculiar speckled pattern of dry and wet spots appear across the ground. But not for long. Before the earth can greedily swallow the moisture, a deluge falls from the heavily impregnated sky. The hardened ground, unable to cope with the sudden rush of water, has become a shimmering desert pool.
With the deluge exhausted, the ground begins to receive the life-giving liquid. Seeping into the desert floor, the precious water finds numerous hard obstructions on its downward journey. The caress of the water on the long-forgotten seeds instantly awakens something deep within them. Sending out a shoot to investigate the waterís invasion to their dark seclusion, the seeds undergo a metamorphosis. Their resurrection from the dead has wrought a sudden transformation, as the desire for life has been encrypted within the seed.
Spawned by the drought-breaking rain, the tender shoots push their way through the moist earth. The sand has become pliable after the rain, despite the years of relentless sun-baking. With singular determination, the tender shoots press upward, while the once hibernating seeds simultaneously send roots on a downward mission for more moisture and nutrition.
The shootsí eruption through the desert surface carries a note of victory with it - the cry of one that has defied insurmountable odds and triumphed! The jubilant shoots are met by a burst of fresh air and immediately adorned with the sunís welcoming embrace.
With astonishing speed the shoots become stems and the stems produce leaves and most ingeniously of all, flower buds.
The tightly closed buds slowly, carefully unfold their delicate petal treasures one by one. What had been concealed in the secret place of death is now blossoming in the open place.
Can the desert contain the joy of colour? Can the desolate place bear the sound of song? What once laid dormant, dead and forgotten, is now alive in a sea of vivid colour - exuberant with new life.
Songs of gay abandon now fill the valley of Achor. The place of bitter death has become a way of hope.
The hues of the desert crocus are mesmerising in their brilliance. Their dance - alluring in the gentle, cool breeze - a wave offering to the Creator.
The flowers of the desert are rejoicing in song. They have overcome!
From Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV; Hosea 2:14-15 NIV.
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