Desert Teachings by Anita Larrea

Last November my husband and I went camel riding in a desert, cruised along a creek aboard an Arabian dhow, and saw the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

At this point, we had been newlyweds for four months and three days, and we were spending part two of our honeymoon in Dubai. Part one was in sunny (scorching) Lisbon in August, where we strolled along the cobbled streets, paraded around the Timeout Market, and gorged on freshly caught salmon. You can actually taste the ocean in Portuguese salmon.

Dubai had been on our list of dream destinations for a while, so when the time came to board our British Airways flight there, we couldn’t wait to take off. It was truly a blessing to be able to fly out to such a mesmerising city in the desert. The skyscrapers line the streets like gargantuan perfume bottles on a dressing table. Market stalls are treasure troves filled with glimmering miniature camels and lanterns. It sounds almost mythical.

How can a place of such wealth, innovation and opulence thrive on dry, barren land? Quite prophetic. We believed that God led us to the desert metropolis to unveil teachings to us. Here are a few valuable lessons God taught me during our time in the UAE.

Growth in the desert season

Nothing seems to be growing or flourishing in your life, and every effort you make to try to achieve your goals is hopeless – whether it be job hunting or getting the gears in motion to start up a business. I have come to learn that this period is necessary in one’s walk with God.

There is indeed growth in this season – spiritual growth. During this time, I have meditated on God’s Word; made affirmations over my life based on His Word, and made a conscious effort to communicate with Him more.

Within this season, showing gratitude towards God for what He has already done in your life is healthy for the spirit, and pleases Him.

How He speaks

 God demonstrates His dynamism through His media of communication. In this desert nation sits the Dubai Mall, the largest shopping centre in the world, which houses 1,200 shops. The Burj Al-Arab, designed to look like a ship’s sail, is the third tallest hotel in the world at 1, 053 feet, and stands on an artificial island. Seven of the world’s 10 tallest hotels are in Dubai.

Man has proven that it is possible to build these opulent structures in the middle of the desert. God can turn a desert situation around, as written in Isaiah 41:18 – ‘I will make rivers flow on barren heights and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.’

The power of thoughts

 The breathtaking architecture of the city started as thoughts. You can snow-ski indoors at the Mall of the Emirates. Sounds peculiar, but it’s true. Finally, the Palm Island. The world didn’t believe that this man-made island could ever exist, yet it does. Posh apartments line the ‘tree trunk’ of the Island, and Aston Martins and Bentleys sit in the driveways. To reach the top of the Island, where the Atlantis Hotel is situated, we were driven through an underground tunnel for approximately five minutes.

Work with what you currently possess, and God will provide the rest

The Palm Island was manufactured by pouring tonnes of sand into the ocean in the shape of a palm tree. What was readily available was utilised to create a land that is highly revered by the world.

Use what God has instilled within you to the best of your ability, and He will catapult you to high places.

Anita Laryea is a writer, on-and-off film critic and book reviewer, who holds an MA in Creative Writing and a desire to write a novel. Follow her on Twitter @AnitaLaryeaBM Email:





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