Before you start shouting “spelling”, let me explain. The word “oases” is the plural for the word “oasis”. And just what is an oasis you might ask. Well, the New Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines oasis as “a fertile or green area in an arid region”.
I’m sure you can all conjure up an illustration from some book you have read or a movie you have seen at some time in your past. A vast stretch of yellow desert seeming never to end, unfolding under the scorching midday sun. A straggling line of over-burdened camels plodding through the heat, ridden by dark-skinned men in their long robes and traditional keffiyeh (headdresses). I feel thirsty just thinking about it.
Then, suddenly, there is a splash of vivid green. A half a dozen palm trees and a small patch of luxurious green surrounding a natural waterhole appear on the horizon. There is refreshment, rest, and restoration; a small sanctuary in that land of never-ending parched sand.
The first thirty five years of my life were very arid in many places for long stretches of time, especially the period from age twenty to thirty five. However, as I look back over the years from today’s vantage point, I can see that there were many oases along the way that literally saved my life and refreshed and restored my soul, even though I did not recognize them for what they were at the time.
I am sure if you look back over your life you will be able to recognize similar oases that helped you through the tough times of your journey. Sometimes these oases present themselves as people, special angels that cross your path and help to lighten the load of the burdens you are carrying at that time. People who listen to you, offer you their broad shoulders to cry on, and encourage you to become the person God intended you to be.
In other moments these oases may be in the form of a special place. Somewhere that is full of peace which offers you comfort and solace. A place that allows you to retreat from the world and all its distractions and difficulties. A sanctuary that offers you the opportunity to regroup, to relax, to find solutions. A moment in time to come home to yourself, to grieve, to cry, and then to find the strength to carry on.
I am grateful for the oases that God placed on my path. Those places of peace and restfulness, those people who supported and restored me and offered me a haven of of safety in the midst of trouble, danger, or difficulty. In some measure they have all lead me to the place of joy that is my life today.