Get comfortable and close your eyes. Now picture a desert and a tropical rainforest. What comes to your mind?
A desert is generally defined as land which receives less than 10 inches of rain per year. When you think of the desert you probably think of words like barren, arid, dry, hot, dusty, sand storms, parched. You think of cactus, scorpions, rattlesnakes, vultures and lizards. Places like the Sahara Desert, Arabian Desert or the Mojave Desert might come to mind. Not really places most of us like to visit. Can you name the world’s largest desert? You might be surprised to know that the largest desert in the world is not in Africa, but instead at the bottom of the planet. Yes, believe it or not, Antarctica is a desert because it gets less than eight inches of rainfall per year.
When you think of the rainforest you think of it getting lots of rainfall, massive river basins, having lush trees and vegetation, high humidity, beautiful orchids, and lots of moss. You probably think of alligators, very large python snakes, sloths, butterflies, monkeys, parrots and colorful toucans. In contrast to the desert, a rainforest is usually defined as receiving at least 100 inches of rain per year. (There are two types of rainforests, tropical and temperate, each with differing rainfall, but regardless, rainforests get lots and lots of rain.) Right away, you most likely think of the two largest rainforests in the world; the Congo Rainforest in Central Africa and the Amazon Jungle in South America.
When you think of the desert you think of hot and barren, and not lots of life. In the rainforest you probably picture a place that is lush and green, and bustling with life. The Bible contrasts trusting in man (and manmade things) versus trusting in God by contrasting a desert with a lush green place. A passage found in Jeremiah really makes it clear that cursed in the person who trusts in man but blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord. Here is what we read –
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jer. 17:5-8)
So today we encourage you to look at your own life and see where your faith and trust is anchored. Are you trusting in man and finding yourself dry and barren (if not now, at some point you will!) or do you trust in God and experience a life filled with nourishment and fruitfulness? Are you in the desert where not much grows or are you in the rainforest that is filled with lush growth?
Okay, now you can open your eyes.
New Bern, North Carolina