For many years, I had a friend named Cherie. Cherie suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and several other auto-immune illnesses that affected her life on a daily basis. She lived with constant, chronic pain. But if you hadn’t seen the evidence in her physical body, you wouldn’t have known it. She didn’t complain. She always had a smile on her face. She was an encourager deluxe. She volunteered to help in every capacity available to her. Cherie’s body was a desert—harsh, dry, hot, unpleasant—but her spirit refused to wilt. Cherie was a beautiful rose blossom in the middle of the desert. She’s gone on to her reward now, released from her years of suffering into a place where no pain can touch her, and I wouldn’t bring her back, but I miss her. What a living testimony of leaning into Jesus’ strength and finding joy in HIM when life was tough. We all have our desert moments. Will we wither or bloom?

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