I used to be a very sad person. Prone to depression most of my teenage and young adult years, I actually tried to kill myself at age 24. This is something I am certainly not proud of, but I can boast in the redeeming power of God in my life that turned my “mourning into dancing,” “my darkness into light.”
I remember waking up in a Psychiatric hospital after a few nightmarish happenings. The events of the previous months were blurry; I just knew I wanted to die. I felt hopeless. My mom sat by my bed with love and steadiness that first night when my world collapsed; she told me that she and dad loved me, no matter what. And I felt their love.
I asked for a Bible the next day. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking I never wanted to comb my hair again.
But I started to read my Bible. Even though I had been raised in a Christian home, where I understood salvation, I never quite understood how to stand against depression or negative thought patterns.
It was a slow, progressive inner healing. I pressed into God and His Word. Hope and light filled my heart and life as I saw myself as God sees me, with a “future and a hope… ” as the Bible says.
That was the darkest wilderness time of my life. And no one got me through that time, except for Jesus. My favorite Scripture during my recovery was from Song of Songs 8:5, “Who is this that comes up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?”
During that isolated, dark time, I learned the intimacy that God wants with his people in the dry desert places of life. I learned that His love for me was so deep and sweet, and that it satisfied like nothing else. I also learned that he actually leads us into the wilderness, so that we will become stripped of our own abilities, stripped of our dependency on others… fully clinging to him. Yes, even as the Scripture says, “leaning on him” as we heal from our suffering.
That hard experience made me appreciate the real desert… to see the beauty of it… to know that it symbolizes intimacy with my beloved Redeemer, Creator like nothing else.
Desert colors also intrigue me. It is interesting to discover there is a lot of purple in the desert. I had always thought of the wasted, dry places of the earth as being brown, beige, and more brown. But there is purple in the desert. I love the surprise of that… the incongruity of that.
Purple throughout the Scriptures means royalty or wealth. Kings wore purple or rich people who could afford garments that were dyed with expensive additives from sea animals.
Exodus talks about the Tabernacle of Moses that had ten linen curtains dyed purple, blue, and scarlet. There were angels embroidered on them of the same hues. In Acts, the wealthy woman, Lydia, sold purple. There was also the rich man in Luke who wore purple. And in the book of Mark, Jesus himself wore a purple garment when he was mocked and ridiculed before he was crucified.
In dreams, purple means royalty, something heavenly or points to Diety. It has meaning that is supernatural, something beyond here and now. I always pay attention to purple in my dreams and otherwise. Colors have powerful meanings spiritually.
So to find such an abundance of purple in the desert, took my breath away. Who can know all the things God is speaking to us by his artistic, creative paintings left in the plant life of the desert?
But one of the most significant things, I feel for me is that when the Bride of Christ arises from the wilderness experience, she is not recognized by her peers as being the same person. She has been so changed by the love of God in her time of suffering. That is why her friends ask, “Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?”
And that is exactly what happened to me. I emerged from my dry, desert experience in life totally different. In fact, I have never returned to that place again. I have never considered suicide, and I am rarely ever depressed. It has been years. Truly the Lord Jesus has turned my mourning into dancing…
I descended into the desert and tasted of the death and discovered while I was there that in reality “Jesus tasted death for every man.” Now I will not live a life eternally separated from God. My life is just the opposite: I am living in close, even intimate, relationship with the God of the universe. He made me beautiful in the desert. When I was unlovely and undesirable, He desired me.
I also felt like I emerged from the desert place as Christ’s beloved… clothed in purple… and precious to him.
That is why I love desert purple. It points to something higher that takes place when we bow low and walk through the desert… something supernatural… beyond this realm. Desert purple is God’s door of hope that there is something significant, eternal, and lovely beyond the dusty path of death we walk.