When the Israelites started the journey to the land of Canaan promised by God, they had to go through many different situations. Sometimes they had to suffer hunger and thirst, and also they had to make a long and seemingly endless journey in the desert without any expectation that they would finish the journey soon. In the time of test in the desert, instead of overcoming the hardships and sufferings believing in the promise of God, they fell into the habits of grumbling and complaining and almost all of them could not enter the promised land and died in the desert.
Our life of faith on this earth is a spiritual journey in a spiritual desert. As in the physical desert where there is not much water or food and where almost everything is lacking, we are living in the spiritual desert where many things are scant and unfavorable and where we have to face many difficulties and hardships. In the journey through the desert, God is training us to make us strong and more obedient and ultimately he wants to give us blessings of the eternal inheritance of the kingdom of heaven after the journey is over. Only those who endured to the end will be able to enter the spiritual Canaan, the promised land of God where there is no sorrow, sufferings, and no death.
Once one pastor I knew told about the cactus faith. In the desert of Arizona, where there is no water or shade under the scorching heat of the bare and unrelenting sunlight, even though all other plants withers and dies under the summer heat of the daytime, the cacti spread their hands towards the heaven and endure all the sufferings in the silent perseverance. It does not complain or grumble, but despite the harsh environment or the lack of necessities it grows tall and strong. Surprisingly, it can live up to the lifespan of 200 years.
When he mentioned about the faith of cactus, he was revealing the truth we must remember. This earth is not the land of plenty or joy to us, but rather it is land of test and suffering to make us strong and obedient to remember and follow the promise of God. When this life of endurance is over, God will grant all the spiritual blessings he promised to those who have overcome. The harder the storm comes and the more unbearable the heat becomes, the more patient we should be depending on God with the mind of prayer and obedience. This was the message what he wanted to tell us:Have the cactus faith and overcome the world.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.