A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I made our first visit ever to Scottsdale, Arizona. It's a little strange for us given that we live in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. A trip to the desert is a little startling at first. As we were landing in Phoenix, I couldn't help but be struck by the lack of green plants and grass. Instead, I saw a lot of dust and, of course, cacti.
While wandering around Scottsdale, though, I was struck by a couple of different sites. For one thing, there is actually something attractive about cacti. Here's one example that was outside our hotel:
There's also this:
But cacti were not the only plant life we saw. There were also some gorgeous flower arrangements such as this around town:
Just because we were in the desert doesn't mean that everything was flat. In fact, mountains sometimes we're popping up in the middle of town. Here was the view out our hotel room window:
That's Camelback Mountain in the background and it's one of the most famous mountains in Arizona.
Two different thoughts came to me while on this trip. First, the beauty of God's creation can be found anywhere even in the desert. Mountains such as Camelback pop up all over the place. And despite the lack of vegetation, the flowers there were quite beautiful.
The second thought struck me as we were driving back through the Shenandoah Valley when we returned to Virginia. I was awed by the mountain vista and the beauty it encompassed. I had driven that stretch of road more times that I could count. But this time, because I had been in the desert, I appreciated the view that much more. I think that's why God allows us to have times when we are in the desert and we feel distant from God. Once we return to the "mountaintop" we have a little more appreciation for the blessings He bestows upon us.