I stand on the balcony of our west-facing library and see the young pumpkin vines beginning to flower yellow. My eyes scan the rows of tender tomatoes and marigolds two weeks old, crying for relief from the oppressive heat and hard winds that can turn soil to dust and parch leaves crisp. Their vulnerable stems bend low as if begging their Creator.
How long, oh God? How long?
Where’s relief in the desiccated days that blow into weeks, months, even years? It’s easy to give up. It’s easy to give in. But we shouldn’t.
We need to keep bending, keep pouring out to the One who will come on billowing cloud. All in due time. In holy, perfect time. Like the rain.
Keep bending the knee. Keep pouring the heart. Keep turning to the One who created you—body, mind and soul—who knows what’s best for you and for all.
Hold onto faith. Cling to hope. And seek to love all as you would want to be loved, because Love is the greatest of all.
Oh, how we need to heed this truth—to live this truth—in these ranting, fomenting times.
I preach to myself as I walk to the garden and kneel, knowing how often I fail to hold enough faith, to cling to all hope, to love as I want to be loved. It’s so easy to point and blame, and murder in our minds. And then we wither. And sometimes we die.
A galvanized bucket of water sits beside me on the dry. Lifting the wilting leaves of the pumpkin plants, I pour water slowly, cup by cup, letting the plant sip and soak all the way to the roots. I imagine the vine sighing relief.
I lower the leaves and move on to the next, a garden nurse tending the needy.
Couldn’t we all use a good, long drink of relief—be it a hug, a smile, a listening ear—or a meal, a card, a prayer—or just some tolerance for another’s opinion?
After watering my last patient, I stand up and look west.
Bring a storm, oh God! Call Your winds from the west and water your earth. Water my garden. Water my thirsty and withered. Water us all, for we can only water so much on our own. We need YOU.
The next day, late afternoon . . .
Radar shows patches of pink and red moving our way.
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
The words flash across my screen. There are no signs to the west.
But I believe in what I cannot see, cannot feel, cannot taste, cannot smell, cannot hear.
Radar says the storm is coming. The storm is coming.
Soon, a rumble like a heavy oak chair being dragged across an upper planked floor announces the storm. A thick tarp of blackish-grey covers a sliver of horizon blue. I feel a few drops on my upturned cheeks. The winds pick up.
Here it comes!
I run inside and race up the steps to the library loft. I don’t want to miss a moment of the outpouring.
The heavens break and rain sheets drench. Hail dances on the grass and the earth gives thanks.
So do I.
I move to the front covered porch, watching the clouds roll over Lake Michigan, electric bolts splitting sky, the thunder rumbling distant. I stand there still, barefoot, breathing in the sweet smell of wet earth and the lingering scent of lilacs. I walk along the flagstone path, through the satisfied perennials. All this, after the storm.
Remember today, my soul. The next time you fear you can’t hold on, the next time you wonder if God will deliver before we wilt and downright die, keep seeking your God. Soak in the care of His conduits—in the blessed assurance of His truths. Humbly bend. Always bend. He Himself will come and heal the lands and satisfy the hunger and thirst. The whole earth will thrive once again. Because the Holy heart of God always comes, in His perfect time, in His myriad of ways, to raise you and all up once again.
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him how is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.