Monday, July 9, 2012

The Tempting Smell of Rain

By Brenda Black

Like an epic Bible story, a fist-full of clouds began to assimilate into one long, dark wall of wet potential. We watched the developing front as if it were a cinematic production and wondered how the dramatic story would end. Would it come straight west and douse our crunchy yard? Would it hold together long enough to quench a thirsty earth spread for hundreds of miles? The steely streaks of precipitation had us captivated.

In order to determine just who was getting rain while we weren't, my son and I set out on a countrified storm chase. Instead of crazily speeding down a Kansas highway straight into a tornado, we piddled slowly along gravel roads, with the windows down. Our only high tech equipment to monitor the weather were limp hands dangling near the truck mirrors and the external temp reading on the pickup. We watched it gradually drop five degrees as we drew nearer the target. After a few miles, we realized it was farther away than we had estimated, so we stopped to take in the scene and the smell of rain expectations.

Fairly quickly, our view from a high hill verified the storm was drifting southwest. All we could do was hope that the front would widen or that winds would shift and moisture would float a little more north to reach us. As we watched the clearly delineated downpour drift more south, our hopes wandered away with it, but for a moment we caught the smell of showers of blessing while those in its direct path enjoyed the actual dampness.

I have to admit, I was a bit jealous of those fortunate folks. And tempted to begrudge them. I briefly entertained the thought of unfairness and why our prayers were going unanswered while others were having theirs met. The painstaking proof from testimonies the next day would confirm that the southerners enjoyed God's favor for three hours and a couple inches worth. Those stats stung like pelting rain in October rather than soothing soft showers in July.

The waterworks missed our yard, the garden, and the pastures. We still sit high and dry, baking and burning to a crisp while others this week are doing a happy dance. And I am happy for them.
What good would it do me to despise those who have no say in God's omnipotent ways. How can I hold it against others, who are just as desperate for a touch of relief, if they get blessed and we get overlooked. I think back a few years when our area was green all summer and every county around was envious. This time 'round, it appears to have flip-flopped.

Some will be wet and happy; others will remain dry and grumpy this summer. God rains on the just and the unjust and it really has little to do with county lines or religious rituals. The primary source that determines the weather pattern in the middle latitudes is the upper level flow pattern. Now, that's not to say we shouldn't pray. In fact, the more we realize how much we take for granted that God waters the world without our asking, the better we can appreciate His mighty power and acknowledge it through supplication. And when we grasp how gracious God is to us in plenty and in want, then we are refreshed.

Whenever I become tempted to feel forsaken or jealous of another's good fortune, then it's time for a heart-wrenching drenching. I am blessed no matter my circumstances! I choose to be thankful rather than disdainful. Rain or no rain – God is good and He knows best! To live with any other philosophy is to only invite bitterness. Often our struggles and disappointments are proof that a soul's dry and weary soul needs watering. And those who can offer the most encouragement are those who have suffered likewise. In the current drought choking our Midwest, we are upheld by Texas and Oklahoma neighbors still recovering from their own time of barrenness. We are reminded of those still fighting unrelenting fires and losing so much more than grass in the Northwest.

Dry seasons in life can bring regret or initiate productive reflection. Our choice may well define us. “As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man.” (Proverbs 27:19) I long to be growing and green in the Lord even if I'm living in a desert. Because I am now more cognizant of my dependency on God for moisture, as well as grace, I welcome that tempting smell of rain.

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