If asked to guess what is the driest place and desert in the world, many would be probably name the deserts of Saudia Arabia, or perhaps those of the Sahara near Egypt, which are both some of the most well-known and photographed deserts known to man. There are others who may want to include high on that list some parts of West Texas or California, both of which have experienced record drought over the past few years.
However, it is the Atacama Desert, located in north Chile, that most scientists will now agree as being the most driest place in the world. The Atacama Desert holds the record for the longest dry streak, going over 170 months without rainfall, with some parts of its desert not seeing a single drop for the past 500 years.
Perhaps what makes the Atacama Desert even more unique is that is also has the highest altitude and elevation of any desert in the world, sitting some 13,000 feet above sea level. With conditions so dry and sterile, NASA uses this desert to test many of the rovers it now sends to Mars, since their sands are almost identical.
Yet, one late winter day in 2015, the sky finally opened up over the Atacama Desert, with the largest rainfall ever recorded for the region. The desert swelled up with water, creating hundreds of rivers that stretched all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Today, if you were to visit the Atacama Desert, you would have to walk through miles of beautiful pink and purple mallow flowers that have bloomed as a result of that truly unforgettable day.
While the new year is still unfolding, it is very easy for you and I to place our attention on those places that appear to be dry and unproductive in our own lives. While our altitudes and prayer life with God can be at their highest level in years, we will always experience a few desert-like seasons when it seems that God is never going to rain His blessings down upon us.
It is during those seasons where we must never forget what God promised through the words of Isaiah, who spent literally most of his life walking in the desert:
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:18
Never forget that a present condition does not equate to a broken promise. This new year, don’t see your desert as a place to run away from, but rather as a place God wants you to bloom within.