It’s been a dry summer.
That’s a relative term, of course. Friends who live ten minutes away are probably cocking their head in confusion because they’ve been popping umbrellas open all summer. But that’s how storms roll in Florida. A few drops here, flooded roads there.
I have a writer friend in California whose hometown has been in a difficult drought for years. They’re currently facing nearby wildfires and celebrate when the lightest sprinkles dot driveway pavement.
We have no wild fires, true. No threat of water shortage (yet). We’re hopeful for a wetter fall and winter to fill up our puddle-like ponds and lacking lakes. Florida is scorching in the summer and the normal, near-daily deluge is a reprieve from the heat while replenishing the beautiful foliage (and sweating people).
Not so much at our house this summer. Drip, rumble, drip. Sunshine again?
Part of my strong desire for rain is due to the new flowers and bushes in our front flower beds and in the backyard, planted last spring. The thirsty flowers rose up in the afternoons, purple and pink petals reaching toward the clouds overhead. Begging for moisture.
All summer long I excitedly checked my weather app when storms rumbled nearby. But most days it was sprinkler water dousing the daisies (okay, I don’t have daisies, but it sounded good), providing the necessary water to keep them alive in UV-drenched Tampa Bay.
At one frustrating point my hubby joked that our house was in a dry spot; a few days in a row, the rain clouds literally split around our neighborhood, drenching everywhere else but home.
Through this physical drought, I thought about droughts in our faith. About how God often calls us to wait. About sanctification making us more Christ-like because we learn to trust in the dry parts of life.
Trusting about a new job (or a job, period); a new(er) vehicle; finding a spouse to share our life with; having children to fulfill our family; receiving an answer to a specific prayer; trusting a loved one’s health to improve; believing a dream to come to fruition within His will.
Waiting. Trusting. Active verbs that build our faith in our Savior, Provider, Healer, Refuge.
Yesterday after church we finally had the pleasure of an afternoon storm soaking. It came on suddenly, the clouds more white-gray than black-rumbling. It didn’t matter; the rain gushed. I admit to dancing in the front doorway after putting some of my porch plants out in the rain. (Rain water is much better for plants because there’s no chlorine.)
The sound of pouring rain was a balm to my dry soul.
But…what came after was even better. Even better than the much-needed, oh-so-appreciated, flower-flooding rain?
Behind our house stands a dead pine tree. It’s the tallest tree nearby and kind of an eyesore. It’s a favorite roosting spot for a variety of birds; we often see shy Osprey land on it, wrangling flapping fish in their sharp talons. Cooing doves and alert Mockingbirds also dot the large, bare branches of the stark tree skeleton.
Yesterday, after the rain? A visitor I’ve never seen before.
A magnificent Bald Eagle.
(Oh, how I wished I had a good camera within my grasp.)
He remained on that high tree branch until night dropped in, his regal pose apparently necessary to dry his feathers, and I pondered some of my favorite scripture from Isaiah 40.
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:28-31
This morning, coming back from my wake-me-up walk with Jedi, the eagle swooped down unexpectedly from the dead tree, right above my head. He flew across the road, heading to parts unknown. So close! So close the sharp point of his beak was visible and his powerful wings whooshed wind in my ears and brought on goose bumps.
How amazing that we serve a God whose strength is for us. Whose grace was given toward us, free of charge, free of conditions except a heart emptied for Him. A God Who calls us to wait, to trust, to believe in His promises, because He is faithful and worthy.