Drought

“Send My Roots Rain”

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you. Joel 2:26

Munching on local corn is one of the perks of living in Central Jersey in August. I don’t slather it with butter or sprinkle it with salt—I savor its natural sweetness. But this year we’ve had so little rain that the fields in our area look like rows of straw stuffing for scarecrows.

I’m not a farmer, so the drought doesn’t affect me financially, but the fields of shriveled stalks and the brown lawns covered with dead leaves sadden me as I commute to work each day. “We need rain, Lord,” I pray. “Why don’t you send us some rain?”

Sometimes I feel the same way about my spiritual life. The scorching rays of daily disappointments and chronic conflicts wither my soul. I look at the prayer requests I’ve written on a 3×5 card, and I wonder when God is going to send rains of mercy and grace to ease financial distress, to heal a bruised heart, or to drive the disobedient back to the shelter of His love.

Joel prophesied in Judah during a spiritual drought. He watered God’s people with words of hope. He spoke of the autumn and spring rains that God would send because He is righteous and faithful (Joel 2:23).

Even as I mourn the loss of this year’s crop of sweet corn, I can look forward with hope to next year’s crop. That’s the kind of God we serve. He won’t withhold rain from His world forever. Neither will He will afflict His people with spiritual drought forever because He has promised to deliver “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD”(Joel 2:32).

English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins weathered dry seasons too. During one parched period, he pleaded with God to water his dehydrated faith. If your life’s landscape is unseasonably barren right now borrow Hopkins’ prayer: “Lord of life, send my roots rain”– penetrating rain that will quench my thirsty soul and fill my mouth with praise once again.

DIG DEEPER:

In the Old Testament, God often disciplined His people with drought when they had adopted a lifestyle of disobedience (see Deuteronomy 28:20-24; Haggai 1:3-11). On the other hand, Psalm 112 lists the blessings God provides for those who find “great delight in his commands” (v. 1). What verse in that psalm encourages you the most?

In an agricultural economy like Israel’s, rain symbolized God’s blessing. What else did God rain down on His people? Read Exodus 16:4, Deuteronomy 32:2, Hosea 10:12. Make a list of the blessings has He rained down on you lately.

Psalm 42 was written in a time of spiritual drought. What did the psalmist recommend as a solution to his spiritual thirst?

To read all of Hopkins’ poem, go to http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=173669

Denise K. Loock

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