Saturday, July 9, 2022

praying for rain

Here in our little corner of the world, it usually seems a bit like paradise. We're tucked into the hills and the woods, and you can't look out without noticing God's beauty. Right now, though, sometimes it's hard to see the beauty. Like right now--we haven't had rain in about a month, and the ground is so dry that it is cracking. 

The small creek that runs through our property is the lowest I've seen it in all the time we've lived here. 

This time of the year is normally hot (typically with highs in the mid to upper 80s), but this year we've had highs in the mid to upper 90s. Our cows are never still, roaming over every inch of of property looking for grass. It's so dry that we had to feed hay this week, in the first week of July, and that was only because a neighbor told us he could spare two bales--no more because he doesn't know when he will have to start feeding his own cows. 

Our driveway is nothing but powder. When we drive down our dirt road, all the plants along the side are brown because they are coated in dust that's blown up as people have driven down the road. Everything around us is desperate for rain, crying out.

We've been praying for rain, as I'm sure can be said for many of our neighbors. It's been hot and dry for too long, and people are getting worried. It's always a scary thing when you have to start feeding hay to your livestock so early in the summer, especially when there's no rain in the forecast. From time to time we get some clouds that roll in--they even look promising, as if they could open up and send moisture down to a parched land at any time.
We had some sprinkles yesterday, but it was barely enough to dent the dust of the driveway.

Sometimes life is just like that--dry to the point that the ground starts crumbling under your feet. You're desperate for the rain to fall, for it to quench your thirsty soul, to bring some kind or relief, but the sky refuses to open. When it gets like that, it can feel like God has abandoned you. After all, He knows what you're going through. He knows that your soul needs to be revived, just like He knows that our dry and thirsty ground needs the rain to fall, so why isn't He doing something about it? Why isn't He sending something to restore your dry and thirsty soul? Doesn't He see? Doesn't He care?

It's easy to forget that seasons are a part of life. We know it--in our heads, anyway. We know that we have to take the good with the bad, the feast with the famine, the tears with the laughter. The problem is, when we're in the middle of the bad and the famine and the tears it's hard to focus on anything else. When it feels like God has forgotten about you, it's hard to remember that He is always good. Our circumstances, as overwhelming as they may seem, don't determine God's goodness. In the hard times, we use Jesus's lament on the cross--"My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?"--but we forget that He was quoting a Psalm that goes on to say, "Still, You are holy." (Psalm 22:3a)

Yes, even in the dry times, God is good.

Even if He chooses to leave you in the desert, He is good.

Even if He doesn't send the rain, He is good.

Even if you feel abandoned, He is good.


"Sometimes sorrow is the door to peace
Sometimes heartache is the gift I need
You're faithful, faithful
In all things

In every high, in every low
On mountaintops, down broken roads
You're still my rock, my hope remains
I'll rest in the arms of Jesus
Come what may"
(We Are Messengers, Come What May)

"The sparrow's not worried ‘bout tomorrow
Or the troubles to come
The lily’s not thinking ‘bout the seasons
The drought or the flood
A tree that's planted by the water
Isn't fazed by the fire
So why should I be?

’Cause You take good care of me
You take good care of me
You know what I need before I even ask a thing
And You hold me in Your hands
With a kindness that never ends
I'm carried in Your love no matter what the future brings
Yeah, You take good care of me"
(Cory Asbury, Sparrows)

"Oh, my soul
Oh, how you worry
Oh, how you're weary, from fearing you lost control
This was the one thing you didn't see coming
And no one would blame you, though
If you cried in private
If you tried to hide it away, so no one knows
No one will see, if you stop believing

Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
'Cause you're not alone

Here and now
You can be honest
I won't try to promise that someday it all works out
'Cause this is the valley
And even now, He is breathing on your dry bones
And there will be dancing
There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone
This much I know

Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down

I'm not strong enough, I can't take anymore
And my shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore
Can He find me here?
Can He keep me from going under?

Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down

'Cause you're not alone

Oh, my soul
You're not alone"

(Casting Crowns, Oh My Soul)

And even when you feel like He is distant, God hasn't left you. He's right there with you in the dust, close enough to you that He can say,

"After all, it is I, the Eternal One your God,
        who has hold of your right hand,
    Who whispers in your ear, 'Don’t be afraid. I will help you.'"
(Isaiah 41:13)

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