Pastoring & Leadership

The Desert Lily

Note: This post originally appeared on We Persevere: The Personal Blog of K.A. Ellis. Find the post and more excellent content here.

When I first met Deborah*, the word that came to my mind was “firebrand.”

Deborah lives among an unreached people group in Northern Africa. Long ago, they were stripped of their dignity, identity and God-given purpose in life.

Grave injustices have brought this entire population to a place where is no electricity or water. There are very few economic opportunities, and hope is in short supply as justice continues to elude them.

Everything around them – and I mean everything – is the color of sand. Time passes very slowly in this arid, barren and unyielding place.

After many generations of dehumanizing conditions, her people’s outlook had grown understandably bleak. They were filled with despair that they’d been forgotten by the rest of the world.

Yet Deborah has this intense flair for the creative, and a deep love for her people. Every day, she tries to answer one question: “Until justice is served, how will we live?”

Holy Spirit ingenuity has proven to be her greatest weapon against the despair that always hovers over their heads.

With a warrior’s spirit, Deborah has decided that circumstance won’t win. She battles their despair by creating programs that are energizing the village youth. She’s introduced solar panels that have brought light into their darkness. The youngest children are now being equipped with educational programs that paint their desert with the color and beauty of a practical love. Once, when presented with a secret request for baptism, she solved the lack of water with a trip to the local community showers. No water? No problem – there is always a creative way to navigate every obstacle.

Year in and year out, her actions and ingenuity say, “God sees you. I see you. You matter.”

Deborah and her people are blooming in the desert, and seeing their dignity restored.

Her creativity has sparked a new hope in her people, and her Spirit of encouragement is fanning that spark into a flame that is restoring their humanity one idea at a time, one day at a time, one person at a time, one generation at a time.

She’s the ‘least of these’ among the ‘least of these’… and they’re beautiful. This is modern-day perseverance in the face of injustice. Through ingenuity and hope in the present, and the future.

Until justice comes, fight … and flourish.

Like a desert lily.


*-Not her real name.

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