There are two common plants that grow naturally in the desert. One is the cactus. The other is sagebrush.
To clear up a commonly held myth, palm trees, while native to southern California, do not grow naturally in Arizona or New Mexico. They're trucked in from Palm Springs or some such place.
Lately many of us seem to be walking through a desert. The questions is, are you a cactus or are you a sagebrush? On first glimpse I'd rather be a sagebrush. After all, cacti are ugly and have big spines on them. Some of them have little tiny spines, too, and these are worse because they get stuck like transluscent splinters and hurt like, well, you know. Sagebrush on the other hand is really lovely in the spring, all green with little flowers. But spring in the desert is deceptive. The rain makes everything spring up green and alive, but the weather quickly turns hot. The rain disappears for months and a hot wind rushes over the country leaving everything parched. When spring fades into blazing summer, the sagebrush dies. This is why they are also known as tumbleweeds. The green becomes brown, the flowers drop off and the whole plant becomes dry and hard. It's roots don't go down deep enough to give it a good hold, so at some point the wind rips it from the ground and sends it careening across the dirt. The first time I saw one of these, when I was brand new to Phoenix, it was flying across the road in front of me during a brief wind storm. I thought it was fantastic, like I had suddenly become part of a real life Road Runner cartoon. I laughed my head off. But I soon learned that no one who has had any experience with them actually likes tumbleweeds. If one come at your car, you slam on your breaks or swerve wildly to avoid it, because an encounter with it's dried up branches will ruin your paint job. Tumbleweeds suck.
Cacti, on the other hand, are capable of withstanding the summer heat. They are built differently than sagebrush, with roots that reach deep down into the earth. During the spring they soak in all the moisture they can so that when summer comes they are able to draw on the reserves inside themselves to survive. They stay green even in the 120 degree heat, and when summer releases it's grip and fall arrives with cooler weather and the monsoons, the cactus is still standing, ready to fill it's resevoir again.
I choose to be a cactus. In the summers of my life I will draw on the reserve inside myself; not my own strength or my own peace but Christ in me. I will stand through the heat and wind and barren places and come out the other side, ready to dance in the rain of God's magnificent love.
Psalm 92:14 "Even in old age they will still prduce fruit; they will remain vital and green."