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Revelation 2 :17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it
Cacti and other succulents are marvelous – both in their beauty and function. They are uniquely suited to grow in environments where few others can live, much less thrive. Their unique form of photosynthesis (called Crassulacean acid metabolism) is just one of the mechanisms designed for desert environments. Another mechanism for desert life is their amazing water storage capabilities. They can store so much water that they themselves can serve as water sources for others, be it animals or us. Furthermore, their anatomy and physiology doesn’t just allow them to store water but to act as water purifiers.
If you break open a cactus and distill water through its mucilage (a spongy-like gelatinous interior), you can effectively clean and purify that which was before-undrinkable water. (Note: this is for emergency purposes, not for everyday use.) The cactus itself does supply some usable water but is even more effective at cleaning other sources of water. And the meat of the cactus is not only a good food source but a food source that is also nutritious and hydrating for our cells.
Yet the cactus must be broken open and spilled out to use it as a water filter. The hidden manna of the cactus must be revealed for it to help others. I think the same principle applies to us as Christians as seen in John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
God has made us to thrive in potentially harsh environments. We are those strangers in a foreign land (see Hebrews 11:1). He doesn’t make us to thrive for ourselves alone. He does this in and for us to help others to seek and to find our Christ, the Living Water (see John 7:37). Only He is the Living Water that brings eternal life to those who drink of Him and never thirst again (see John 4:11). Only He can nourish and hydrate dry and weary souls like none other (see Matthew 11:28-30).
Yet we must be broken and spilled out of ourselves for us to be of any help to others. We are to be like the woman and her alabaster vase broken to release the perfume that filled the entire house in worship of her Jesus (see John 12:3). Whatever has put a shell around Christ alive in us must be removed (see Galatians 2:2). Even good goals, agendas, or intentions can interfere with our ultimate purpose of bringing Jesus to others. Only the mucilage, that hidden manna reflecting a new heaven and earth to come growing deep in our souls given totally to Christ will be of use to another. What is inside must come out for Christ to be poured into and made alive in another’s life for today and for eternity.
Cacti aren’t those showy fast-growing plants that draw and keep someone’s attention and make them say “wow!”. Rather, they are solid, steady, slow-growing survivors that hold fast as the heat grows and the wind blows. And that’s what our God calls us to be – steadfast and always there pointing towards Christ. For there will be months, years, even lifetimes of hard circumstances that will try and suck every last drop of hope, courage, and joy from us. But we keep on, we are steadfast. We can persevere because Christ keeps on filling us from the inside-out (see James 1:25). He does this not just to nourish us, but to be of nourishment to others, when we allow Him to break us and pour us out for His glory and the good of His people.
Thank You for Your goodness poured out on my life today that is both refreshing and renewing. Thank You for the hidden manna yet to come in the new heaven and new earth. Thank You that You nor Your promises will ever fail. Please help me to keep seeking You for truth and to speak it to others in Your love. Please keep cultivating the garden of my heart to bear that Matthew 13 harvest You desire.
In the strong Name of Jesus,
Please share in the comments section some Bible verses or inspiring quotes which help you to thrive in hard circumstances in your life. We can all benefit from a good word. Thanks!
Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2021