We have not had rain in many, many days where I live. I do not know how large of an area this drought has affected in the US, but I know it is much larger than my immediate area. I heard on the radio that this drought is the worst we have had in 100 years. So, that gives you an idea of how serious it has been. As day after day of record heat combined with no rain waged on this summer, I caught myself scanning the skies for a stray cloud or any sign that rain was coming. Atlanta, GA was about 62 days from being out of water and Monroe, NC was about 111 days from being out of water. We don't think about it much, but can you imagine life without water? In short, things were getting desperate.
And then finally this week, the drops began to fall. I caught myself being literally worried that it would stop again. But it didn't. For two straight days, it fell. Hard. Drenching. Pouring down on us as God's answer to all of us who had prayed for rain. I have to say that as I drove in the rain the other day, I thought of all those who don't believe in God-- the humanists who believe we are our own gods and we evolved into who we are by mere magic. The folks who think that the essence of life lies in our own hands. And yet, we can't create rain. We can't make water-- that most basic of life-sustaining elements. We can't make it fall out of the sky when we need it most. For that, we must wait on God.
For about a day I was happy with the rain. I rejoiced in it. I thanked God for it. I even prayed that it would keep on raining. I had hope that this rain would begin to replenish the 14 inches of water level deficit we need. Come on, rain! As I loaded children and bags of groceries in the car, I tried not to be grumpy about the rain. I tried to smile even as my hair was getting wet; even as my son was splashing in puddles, soaking his shoes. Everytime I felt myself getting grumpy and wishing it would stop raining, I focused instead on how much we need the rain-- and how this rain was an answer to prayer. And yet, I must confess that after it went on for awhile, I was anxious for the rain to go away and dry weather to return. Even though I knew that God was giving us what we needed most. I started looking backwards.
And then this morning, God gave me a vision of how much I was like the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. The scripture tells us that they started looking backwards. Egypt was starting to look good to them again. They had prayed for deliverance from slavery and God had provided it. He had answered their prayers and given them what they needed. Yet as day after day of walking and wandering began to take its toll, they started to forget God's goodness and concentrate on their circumstances instead. Oh, to be back in Egypt! Acts 7:39, "But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt."
How often do we do this? We ask for deliverance from something, we are thankful for the deliverance, but then as we walk through the hard parts of actually being delivered, the flesh begins to cry out in opposition. We start drifting backwards in our spirits to a place of what was familiar, instead of walking obediently towards where God wants to take us. I know this has been true with our finances. We prayed for deliverance from debt and God began to show us a way out. Yet as we have walked through what it has taken to be debt free, I have often caught myself looking back at when I used to charge things freely, with no thought as to how we would pay for it. "Oh, how nice that was to just be able to go buy something without having to scrounge and save," I find myself thinking.
I don't want to look backwards or give into the comforts my flesh craves. I want to push forward, straining for the prize God has for me. I want to seek Him with all my heart-- no matter where my seeking may take me. I want to live in that uncomfortable place of walking in total obedience. When the rain comes pouring down, I want to choose to dance in the puddles instead of seeking the shelter of sunny days.