O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly;
My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
The drought of 2012 is a doozy, no doubt about it. The hot, dry weather has our family reminiscing about other droughts we’ve endured. Mom remembers how hot their old farmhouse near Pipestone, Minnesota was during the summer of 1936. “The upstairs was so hot,” she says, “we dragged our blankets and pillows outside to sleep in the yard.” Then she adds, “The next drought came in 1956. The summer I was pregnant with you.” She nods in my direction. “I was miserable until you put in an appearance in July.”
I pretty much know how miserable Mom was because our daughter Anne was also born in late July during the drought of 1988. Anne, of course, doesn’t remember that toasty, dry summer but our son Allen, who was six that year, does. “The grass was brown and crispy,” he says, “and the yellow jackets built hives in the cracks in the ground.”
And now Allen’s wife knows how miserable Mom and I were during the droughts of ’56 and ’88. Only more so because she’s pregnant during the worst drought since ’36 and isn’t due until September. Please, keep her in your prayers!
Our family tradition of anticipating new life during drought years has warped my perception of them. When reading biblical accounts of droughts, or when listening to current weather reports I see circumstances, both past and present, as pregnant with opportunity. God used ancient droughts to bring his wandering people back to him. Men and women who trusted him in times of need became part of the Christ’s lineage. Over and over, God blessed bone-dry believers with the promise of a future Messiah, and the faithful clung to that hope.
This rain-starved summer, as every other drought year in my lifetime and yours, is an opportunity for us to cling to faith as our spiritual forefathers did. We can pray for people to turn to God as their illusion of human control evaporates in a cloudless sky. We can trust God to prove himself faithful in the midst of spiritual and physical want. We can share Christ’s living water with lost and parched wanderers and expect God to bring forth new life in many.
When we trust God in lean times, we are like the psalmist David, who sought God earnestly in the desert. Like David, we look beyond the burned fields and wilting trees and see God in his sanctuary, watering our souls with his completed promises and grace. We learn to be satisfied in him as we’ve never been satisfied before. When we gaze upon the God who waters our lives through the saving grace of a baby in a manger, our Father assures us that his fountain of life never runs dry.