By Brenda Black
Sorry, I can't help but talk about it since the only chance for rain is to bring it up in conversation. It's a disaster – literally. More than 1,000 counties in 26 states are being named natural-disaster areas due to drought; it's the biggest such declaration EVER by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Day by scorching day, more brown grass is ground into powder while ponds evaporate into searing skies. And there's not a thing we can do about it, but wait and pray and try to not go crazy with fear or worry.
And if that's not depressing enough, it's an election year. Great! More hot air! No rain mixed with all the lies and allegations that leave us desperate for someone in whom we can place genuine trust equals a parched and perturbed people. Moods are down, crime is up and hope has blown away with the incessant winds. And here we sit, steaming and stewing and worrying just how bad can it get. Stop! This meltdown needs some perspective.
While I have bemoaned my pitiful green bean crop, my tomatoes have flourished in this gigantic hot house. So I will be thankful. While the pastures have withered to dust, our cattle are holding their own amazingly well. God made them hearty. As we watch the horizon day after day, yearning for wet relief, we still have a chance at recovery. Fall is coming, cooling temps and the possibility of snow this winter are not entirely impossible here in Missouri.
Midwest weather is fickle and the humidity we often curse may well be our rescuer at some point this desperate year. Whereas those who dwell in the arid mountains and windswept plains in the Northwest have already lost everything. I just spoke with a lady in South Dakota this week. The blessed rains they prayed for brought damaging hail to the tune of 700 acres of pasture lost and 300 pairs of cows and calves without grass. And neighbors in Montana experienced the horrors of watching their livestock and land consumed by raging wildfires. I can't imagine the devastation or heartache. It's so much more than property; this marriage to the soil and the forage and the animals who dwell upon it is an extension of our very humanity. Even those in urban communities may finally realize groceries aren't grown on store shelves.
It all could be so horribly depressing, so overwhelming and defeating if it weren't for perspective. When countries are ravaged by war, fierce and hopeful leaders challenge their people to rebuild. When unplanned hardships strangle us, the resilient look in and look up for sustenance.
Look in! “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
Pray for rain. Pray for peace.
Look up! Every day, I find some obscure little cloud, or distant haze and say to my family: “That could have some rain in it.” For the most part, they scoff at me and call me crazy. But it's my way of keeping a sense of humor in the mix and expressing faith in a God who can take a cloud the size of a fist and turn it in to a gully washing! “...whatever is true...whatever is lovely...if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things...And the God of peace will be with you.” (Ph. 4:8-9 selected) Perspective.
If blistering air has chaffed your normally cheerful self, how long will you let it infiltrate every part of your life? What good does it do to gripe and fret, fuss and fume over something we cannot change without the hand of God? There's a better way even if it doesn't get wetter. Get perspective by choosing to dwell on what is good and praiseworthy. Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, when it rains and when it doesn't.
May God heal our land and help us to be patient while we wait for the pitter-pat of rain.