Rain {For the drought-weary heart}

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes from my mouth; but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it” Isaiah 55:10-11.

I am not a good desert dweller. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, my roots are saturated in soggy soil. ‘Drought’ isn’t a word that had any relevance to me until I moved to Southern California. One of our first neighbors here told me, “You are used to marking the seasons by the turning of the leaves, here we do it by the turning of the grass.” I thought he was a complete weirdo, until I lived here a year…and watched everything go from lush green to brown to decomposing gray. It was the first time I’d ever waited, longed in some secret and deep place of my heart, for rain.

Since then I’ve also discovered spiritual drought. I was raised as one of those Sunday School kids who was taught that if you did all the prescribed x, y,z’s of churchianity you would live happily ever after. At the time, I was too young and too optimistic to notice that my teachers were administering the curriculum of a publishing house far removed from the realities of lives lived in the muck and mire of humanity. Having been a teacher of such said curriculum, I know now there is always the hidden curriculum of a teacher’s life–the one where they too are desperate for more than just the ‘right answer.’

Those lessons of the hidden curriculum–the ones learned through sickness, disappointment, trial, and surprises, are the ones we needed to make us strong enough for seasons when it seems that God has gone to his vacation house in the Hamptons. Home Alone is a funny movie, unless you’ve ever been abandoned or forgotten and then you know that all the slapstick humor aside, there is a deep and profound need to be found…embraced…to belong to another. Without that touch from the Lord, the heart turns from lush green, to brown, to decomposing gray. 

It needs rain. The cats and dogs variety. Buckets. {Of rain, that is…not dogs, I already have too many of those.) In the face of our circumstances, our hearts are in desperate need of rain, days upon unending days. Forty days and forty nights sounds about right.

And so we wait for it, longing for God’s season of rain in some secret and deep place of our heart. We need to know that He has not forgotten us. We need to know that where hope, purpose, joy, peace, and love are drying up and dying, He will water them to abundant life again.

I’m back to spending a lot of time in the Gospel of John. Thinking through my own season of spiritual drought, I’ve been encouraged how Jesus finds people in their desperation {and even doubt}. It matters to Jesus that the man at the pool waited thirty eight years for his healing, that the woman at the well had already blown through five husbands, that Nathaniel was under the fig tree…waiting, stirring up hope that the coming Messiah would actually show up. He cared that Nicodemus needs the cover of night to hide his searching, that the people are hungry and nobody knows where the money is coming from to put food on the table, that Mary and Martha had been missing their beloved Lazarus for four days. It matters to Jesus when our lives are at a loss and we are clinging to just one very thin thread of life. He cares and he finds us. 

I read John’s Gospel and I see Jesus–his power, his compassion, his mercy–and I am calmed. It’s okay for my heart to be dry; he knows how to water it back to life again.

“…making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth.” Lord, we need this rain. We need remembrances of your promises–the word that has gone out from your mouth:

  • You will make all things beautiful in its time (Ecc. 3:11)
  • You finish what you start (Phil. 1:6)
  • Your work will not be sloppy or faulty; all you do is perfect (Heb. 12:2)
  • Your not surprised by the account of thinga; it’s all under control (Eph. 1:22; Col. 2:10)
  • Bad circumstances are transformed to good outcomes by the touch of your hand; today’s pain and disappointment will be the source of tomorrow’s praise (Rom. 8:28)
  • No matter where we are or what is happening in our lives, your love find us and fights for us (Rom. 8:31-35)
  • My identity and inheritance are safe and bountiful in you (Eph. 1:3-14)
  • You are making all things new (2 Cor. 4:16-18, 5:17; Phil. 3:21)
  • This isn’t it; there is much, much more to come (Rev. 21)
  • Until then, we are never alone…never forgotten (Matt. 28:20)

“…it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” 

The good news for us is that we have a Raining God. He will find us, he will embrace us, he will wash us with the showers of his truth until we know, really know–in the secret and deep places of the longing heart, that we belong to him. 

No umbrellas needed. Just open your hands and wait.

3 thoughts on “Rain {For the drought-weary heart}

    • Hi Mike, Great to hear from you. Yes, we are all susceptible to dryness. May the Lord meet you with his refreshment soon…for you are such a source of refreshment to others. Lord bless you, friend.

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