Walking in the Desert with God

It is an act of faith to venture into isolated areas of the Nevada High Desert where my husband and I love to explore.  Each journey is sacred and reminds us that no matter how diligently we prepare for a trip, we will have challenges: some minor, some not.  Help is not readily available in the high desert–a rescue can take days–so we are acutely aware that it is God’s mercy which will safely deliver us home.

My husband and I visited the Nevada High Desert for the first time six years ago and I often wonder that we were so promptly drawn to it.  This desert of northern Nevada is understated in ways that cause many travelers to shun it.  It does not share the dramatic vistas of the southwest deserts– its features are less architecturally conspicuous and its colors, quieter.  Imbued as it is with such geological humility, the Nevada High Desert does not instantly awe or inspire; rather, as one forges, awe mounts.

The northern Nevada desert promotes awareness of God.  It is a place in which routine concerns easily succumb to space, silence, and solitude.  It is a place that establishes within us the certain knowledge that our lives rest in God’s hands.  It is a place in which to wonder how, for centuries, desert monks on spiritual quests have summoned the courage to set out on their journeys; and it is a place in which to wonder how we came to be so blessed, as to be walking in the desert with God.

64 thoughts on “Walking in the Desert with God

  1. your blog is beautiful and inspiring. I count myself blessed that you visited mine today so that I could find yours.. am now following you..

    Vicki (selah)

  2. Hello there fellow traveller. Thanks for visiting us at eighty wickets. Your site is beautiful and stirring. I have long been interested in the role of the desert in the spiritual journey, so it is lovely to discover your writing and photos. Shalom and tread safely.

    • Hello Merryn,

      It appears that you have embarked on quite a profound journey of your own. The delicate etchings which your writings produce make it easy for us to share in your joys!

      • Thank you, Vivian. We are on a big physical journey right now, but I am even more interested in the inner pilgrimage, whether done on the move or in stillness. Peace to you, M

  3. I just chance upon your site and was immediately drawn to it. The photos are wonderfully captivating and from what you are writing about, one can assume that you are embarking on a wonderful adventure. I’m so glad we can connect here. Hope to get to know you better. Will visit often to read your posts. God bless!

  4. I’ve had just one, memorable desert wilderness experience camping with friends outside of Seattle. The place was called Ephrata; I remember its Bible name. The first thing I did was holler as loud as I could into the vastness of the desert. The most unbelievable discovery while hiking one day was to come across a spring in the desert and a couple people who were already frolicking in it! Somebody wrote a book called ‘Streams in the Desert’. It was amazing to find water in the desert!
    What a remarkable God we have!!!

    • There is nothing like the surprise of coming across a spring in the desert during hot waather. It is such a source of delight as you now know.

      “Streams in the Desert” by L.B. Cowman is a Christian daily devotional (there is a quote from it in the sidebar on my home page.)

      Thanks for visiting. God bless!

  5. You have such a lovely blog. I’ve always felt closer to God when I’m outdoors in His beautiful creation; something that not many understand…and it’s nice to ‘meet’ other Christians who feel the same way! Thanks for visiting and liking my post.

  6. Contemplative. Meditative. Your words are filled with a quiet hope that infuses the soul fortunate to find its way here. I am always grateful to meet and walk alongside a pilgrim in this journey of life.

    “Streams in the Desert” is a very precious book for me and walked me through some very difficult moments in life.

    “The oriental shepherd always walked ahead of his sheep. He was always out in front. Any attack upon the sheep had to take him into account first. Now God is out in front. He is in our tomorrows, and it is tomorrow that fills people with fear. Yet God is already there. All the tomorrows of our life have to pass through Him before they can get to us.” ~ F.B Meyer (January 14)

    With many warm greetings from Finland, Sharon

    • Blessings,

      Thank you for your thoughtful remarks. “Streams in the Desert” has been in my reflections since, during a recent hike in a desert canyon, I encountered a stream that traversed my trail several times. I have been contemplating a post about the walk and the book. You have inspired me to remove the book from its shelf and begin work.

      Yours is a lovely blog. I look forward to following.

  7. I love what you are doing with your blog! I grew up in Wyoming and your photos remind me of many areas there. Your photos are amazing!

    • Thank you! I’m a new photographer and always challenged when photographing the desert to capture its transcendent quality.

      The west is so beautiful, isn’t it? I have not been to Wyoming but it’s on my list.

      You have a delightful blog! I look forward to more!

  8. I am so pleased to discover your beautiful and thoughtful blog. Many see and celebrate God’s creative work in nature, and I was struck that you also have a sense of God’s mercy. May you continue to walk where God takes you.

  9. I visited the high desert many years ago and it’s been one of those places that keeps drawing me back in my soul. I must plan a trip again. May God always be with you on your adventures!

  10. I am drawn to both your words and your beautiful photographs, and I am inspired by your faith in God. Thank you for sharing. Thanks, too, for the follow, which is greatly appreciated. Blessings from Lizzie Joy

  11. We drove all over the West during the ’80s and ’90s including the high desert country of northern Nevada. Lately we have been traveling to other countries, mostly in Europe. Someday I hope to convert all of those slides from the old days to digital and post some of them on my blog. Thanks for visiting.

  12. hello dear traveler, if i were to describe your blog in one word, it would be ‘gorgeous’. It’s truly beautiful, inspiring & a treat to browse through! :)

  13. I found this blog completely by accident and I love it. It’s a rare treat to come across fellow seekers that seem to ‘get it’. I’ve never found God in a church – only in the desert and I live to be there as much as possible. I’m blessed to live in Humboldt County and have the quick access that I have.

    • Thank you so much for visiting and for leaving a lovely comment. The desert is a very particular sanctuary and apparently one that we share.

      My husband and I do attend church and we do love our church. But I believe that our sojourns into the desert broaden and deepen our relationship with God in a way that our church could not.

      How fortunate for you to live so close to the desert. Safe travels and God bless.

  14. I adore all that you adore..Solitude, peace, nature the presence of God. I have been a wilderness wanderer and in the desert too and it is only my Father that quenches my thirst. I too love my Streams in the Desert daily devotional. Thank you for joining me at in other words and pictures..

  15. The first time I read one of your blogs, Psalm 46:10 came to mind “Be still and know that I am God…” Have never ventured into the desert , my sanctuary here in Ecuador are the empty beaches. Inspiring posts, lovely photos.. God Bless, Mary

    • Dear Mary, Thank you for sending me such a beautiful note. My husband and I feel very blessed to enjoy a relationship with God and the desert. I’ve never been to Ecuador so I look forward to learning about life there through your posts. Love and many blessings, Vivian

  16. Thanks for the visit to my blog. Your photography is amazing.

    Many, many years ago I worked on a chicken farm. A co-worker was an old East Indian man that would crouch, unmoving, under a tree every lunchtime. Curiosity got the better of me and one day I asked him if he believed in God. He said that he did. I asked him if he went to church and he looked at me like I was an idiot. He went on to ask me who made places of worship, and I replied: man. He asked me who made the earth, and I replied: our Creator. He then asked me why would man worship in a man-made structure when you could worship under a God-made tree. That has always remained with me.

    As a side note (because of all the above references to Christianity): lets remember that God created all of us, and not just Christians – God didn’t create religion, man did.

    • Thank you for visiting my blog and for taking the time to write me. I am delighted that you enjoy the photographs. I certainly enjoyed your story about your conversation with your friend! And in blogging (and in real life) I have come across people who don’t understand or can’t appreciate (and sometimes judge) another’s call to worship. Many people who go to church don’t understand the longing that others have to worship in nature. And many who worship in nature don’t have or understand the longing to worship in church. I happen to enjoy worship in both venues and find them both important.

      I do believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and I do have a deep respect for all religions. That being said, I think that there is a great deal of liberty taken with many religions today in the ways that it is interpreted and practiced.

      Well, you’ve initiated a lively discussion! Thank you again for visiting. Love and many blessings, Vivian

      • I take my hat off to you Vivian as you seem to be one of the few “Christians” that get the true meaning of living your life as God intended. Whether Jesus is the son of God (which I don’t doubt that he is) is immaterial to me in the big scheme of things. What Jesus said is what is important. And practicing what he preached is even of more importance.

        And I agree with you, some people do manipulate religion for their own benefits – which is why I turned my back on mainstream religions a long time ago. Like I sometimes tell people: we all were created by our Creator, so it is logical to then understand that a part of God is within each of us. And the next time you judge someone, or belittle them, etc., understand that you are disrespecting God. If people could get that thru their heads, I think there would be less war and hate going on in the world – and God would be smiling…finally!

        Sorry, didn’t mean to hijack your blog with my philosophies.

        Continue enjoying Gods creations.

  17. I too love the quiet, deserted places. I love the stark Australian outback and for many years looked forward to spending some time travelling it. Sadly, like so many, we left it too late, so that dream is gone.
    I hope to return here when I have more time, to devour your lovely photos.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you did not get to spend as much time as you would have liked in the Australian outback…I would love to see it one day… Thank you so much for visiting and for taking the time to write me. I’m delighted that you enjoy the site. Blessings, Vivian

  18. This is wonderful, and I must say, you are brave. I prefer to let hardship find me! But you’re right, the desert is a journey through parts of the soul that need exploration. What we find there is that which heals.

  19. Ah, Vivian, so much depth and texture in your writing and your images.Was Nevada really a scared place before you brought such sanctity to it? Completely meditative and luring journey, the desert and your blog.–M.

    • Dear Melissa, It’s difficult to say which I appreciate more, the eloquence of your comment or the generous content. I greatly admire your writing and you have honored me. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and respond. Warmest regards, Vivian

    • Thank you for visiting, Peter, and for sharing a bit of this journey with us. I know from the narratives you include with your photographs that you too are profoundly impacted by a sense of place, and although the places of which we write are very different, it’s one of the wonders of the internet that we can share in one another’s discoveries, isn’t it? I’m delighted that you enjoyed this! Warmest regards, Vivian

  20. Northern Nevada’s high desserts are one of my favorite places on this beautiful planet we live on. I’m looking forward to follow your blog. Thank you for sharing your adventures.

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