Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Rains Have Returned

The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, 
to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. 
Deuteronomy 28:12

There's always been something about rain for me.

Growing up on the farm, I learned early that the crops—and therefore the paychecks—were dependent on the Lord opening the sky and watering the earth. I remember sitting on the front porch of the big cement block farmhouse, my dad in his big chaise lounge lawn chair and me in my small one, covered in a green blanket, breathing in the damp, fragrant air and enjoying the thunder concert.

I guess I must have soaked in the peace and deep sense of provision the rain brought to him, because I don't remember storms ever being a thing of terror for me.

Hot and Dry

Fourteen years ago, when I first moved to Colorado Springs, we could expect a thunderstorm around 2 p.m. most summer afternoons. I hear this is a "normal" weather pattern for this area. But for the past decade, we've been in a drought.

The most sobering thing about that, of course, is that the whole area is a tinderbox, and forest fires have been part of this summer's and last summer's stories.

But the drought does other things too. We were discussing recently the (ecologically) brilliant theory of building houses—like ours—without air conditioning, because "really, you only need it about six weeks out of the year."

This is fine and dandy, when it rains every afternoon. The rain washes the heat from the air and evenings are cool and dry and full of light dancing on the post-storm clouds. It makes for what my dad calls "good sleepin' weather." But when the rains don't come, you're in a perpetual state of hot and stuffy from mid-June through August.

I shouldn't complain. I know many people on earth live with trials much more serious than an 85 degree house. But I'll be honest: I've done my fair share of complaining about the heat.

Here's another honest bit: life has felt a little parched lately. Losing my job almost felt like a relief after several years of fighting to keep the program afloat amidst declining student numbers. There are so many "what-ifs" and "if onlys," and I'd be lying if I said I don't go there on a daily basis.

But 20/20 hindsight does no practical good. So in the moments when I'm both honest and realistic, I cry, and I openly long for a season of rain, both literally and figuratively.

Streams in the Desert

Last week, the afternoon rains began again. Today they continue. I'm drinking them in, and so is my garden.

Who knows if they'll stick around long enough to really break the drought pattern. For right now, I'm opening the windows as wide as I can get away with and breathing relief at the coolness and the moisture that makes things grow. And asking God to send his rain to my heart too.

What places in your life are cracked and dry and need some afternoon rains? 


  1. Check out this Elgar setting of Longfellow's poem. This is about as perfect as a song gets, and often brings me peace when I am feeling like I imagine you are feeling.

    As torrents in summer, Half dried in their channels,
    Suddenly rise, tho' the sky is still cloudlesss.
    For rain has been falling.
    Far off at their fountains;
    So hearts that are fainting Grow full to o'erflowing,
    And they that behold it, Marvel, and know not
    That God at their fountains
    Far off has been raining!

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