Praying for Rain
This year has been one of the worst drought years the area where we live has seen. Snow packs that we depend on for runoff were measured at a very small percentage of what is required. Spring came and went, then came the wildfires, and then we noticed loads of hay being trucked in rather than out. We were told no one could remember the last time that was necessary.
I talked with one of my friends and had asked her to join us in praying for rain especially since we were starting to see plumes of smoke from one of the fires that was 40-50 miles away. We talked about other things too, like how things were going in the ministry.
Later, she sent a text saying she had been reminded of Elijah as he prayed for rain and sent his servant seven times to check for signs of rain (1 Kings 18:41-46). On the seventh trip out to look for indications of rain, the servant returned and reported a wisp of a cloud. She wasn’t positive of the exact significance, but felt she was to share.
I wasn’t sure of the complete significance either, but I sensed it was less about a physical rain and more about a symbolic rain.
Dry and parched
Shortly after that, we were listening to a sermon, and the pastor was talking about hearts that are dry and parched much like the land. He was encouraging us to ask God to water our hearts especially those that felt dry and brittle.
Mark and I had both been struggling because it felt like the ministry had plateaued, and we weren’t sure how to move forward. That, coupled with some difficult life circumstances, was weighing us down. In our experience, these seasons are easier to weather when we are not both struggling at the same time. We continued to meet with people that were looking for discipleship, encouragement and healing, and as we talked with them, it was as if God was reminding us that He is sufficient even when nothing makes sense.
Mark was out one evening on such an appointment, and I started hearing a noise I couldn’t identify. What is that? I got up and started walking all around the house looking for the source of the sound. Then it dawned on me, and I looked up. Through the skylight, I could see water collecting on the surface.
“It’s raining!” Once I realized what the sound was, I offered up thanks to God for sending the much-needed moisture. We continued to have almost daily showers for about a week.
The irony of having prayed for rain and then not realizing what the sound was struck me and reminded me of the sermon I mentioned earlier. What if our hearts are so dry we forget what rain, holy spiritually-renewing rain, even feels like? Proverbs 13:12 says hope deferred can make one despondent.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (ESV)
When we have lived in a place of a delayed promise, it is easy to feel as if the delay has become the death of a dream. However, if God placed the dream, He will see it through in His timing.
Wisp of a Cloud
I read somewhere that it takes 10 minutes for rain to reach the floor of the rainforest due to the dense foliage canopy. The rain has already started falling, but if you’re on the ground, you won’t feel it immediately because it first has to penetrate the covering layers.
We need to stay in a position of preparing and expectantly waiting. Trust me, I understand that this is not easy. I also know that God is making ready something in the delay whether it is character refining, provision, or that He be glorified even more due to the delay.
Have you missed something God was giving you because you were busy looking for a sky with an abundance of clouds instead of believing the promise of what was to come? Simply because the indicator seemed so small or the promise had been given so long ago, has your heart become dry and brittle?
When the Father sends the blessing, are you in a position to receive? Look up. Your answer may already be there in plain sight. You simply need to see it and hear it through the Truth of God’s promise and faithfulness even if all you see is a wisp of a cloud.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV
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