This week I reshuffled the routine of the staff week, so I could head out to the desert on Wednesday to visit Team Tesoro in Thermal. I kidnapped Danny (my son) to join me on the grueling excursion to the desert and back.
As we made our way past all those obtrusive windmills, it struck me: I don’t think Danny knows very much about his old stomping grounds. He was born in Palm Springs but left for the South Bay when he was 18 months old. As far as the desert is concerned, he knows Belk Farms and Tesoro, not Rancho Mirage and Bermuda Dunes.
So, I decided to give him a desert tour. We were late (my bad), so we couldn’t drive by our old houses or the school his brother attended or the church in which we served. It wasn’t much of a tour. But, I discovered a Chick Fil-A off Monterey. That’s huge.
Danny wasn’t too interested in what the tour guide had to say (don’t blame him at all), but he was patient. When we arrived at Belk Farms, it was only 100 degrees — at 10:00 am. I couldn’t convince Danny to enjoy the 100, because it was about to get worse. The eventual high crept to 112. After you’ve lived through two summers in the desert, you adjust. You do get used to it. Sort of. Danny is not used to it. Not at all.
Danny was patient with my tour guide prattling, but the patience evaporated once he opened the car door. I wanted to pass along stories of our desert life. I also needed to pass along some tolerance for hot weather. But I didn’t even attempt to do that. Some things we learn by experience, and by experience alone. I couldn’t teach him to tolerate the heat. Stories aren’t enough, some things you learn only over time. Two summers in the desert teach you to acclimate.
Walking with God is the same. I can tell you what it looks like and what it feels like, but unless you walk with God yourself, you’ll never learn His ways. Doing trumps the classroom. The writer to the Hebrews says there are things in the spiritual life we learn – only through practice. I could show Danny where he was born, but I couldn’t help him survive in the heat. I can tell you what God is like, but you need to taste and see His goodness for yourself. I can describe the refreshing waters in the springs of God, but, until you drink from the well yourself, you will not be drawn into His love. So, give God a try. Drink yourself. I beg you.