Monday, June 18, 2007

Like the rain

Last Thursday night my husband and children and I sat on our porch and watched the approach of a storm. Lightning slashed the darkness, and for a split second the dark of the night would appear as bright as day. Booming thunder pierced the silence, sending my youngest son to the (perceived) security of inside. And then came the rain. Slowly at first, then finally a drenching downpour. We reveled in it as we sat there on the porch listening to the beautiful music of the rain.

We have been suffering one of the more severe droughts of recent history. Ours is a landscape of brown on brown, and walking across the yard is as one friend described it: like walking on potato chips. We need the rain. All is dry and dusty, parched and dying. Oh, there have been those seeking to emulate the rain with sprinklers and such, but truly there is no substitute for a good, steady, sustained rain.

The interesting thing about rain: we must wait on God's provision. We can emulate its effects, to be sure, but we cannot make it rain. It comes when God sends it. No sooner, no later. Not only that, but it is necessary, vital, for life and sustenance. Is there anything as refreshing as the clean smell of rain?

I've shared with you out there on the world wide web my struggles and doubts and fears concerning my church (here and here and here if you're new to the party). We now find ourselves on the brink of transition, in a new phase of sorts, at a place with great potential for change. I confess that my struggles and doubts and fears seem to loom even greater, for now I sense the temptation to apathy and disinterest and resignation as never before.

We are dry and dusty, parched and--dare I say it?--dying. We need the rain. We thirst. I'm no meteorologist, but I feel perhaps a storm is finally approaching. Or is it only hope? Does it matter?

Sunday morning a week ago was my prescribed day to be in the prayer room, interceding during the preaching. While in there, I discovered a folder of prayer guides, a folder my husband and I had placed in there some years ago to aid in prayer during preparation for a weekend event. At any rate, as I was praying through the suggested prompts and Scripture on the guide, I was both encouraged and challenged by the admonition in Isaiah to "make ready the way of the Lord."
In the desert prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Is. 40:3-5
"Get ready," the Spirit seemed to be saying to me, "my glory is gonna be revealed!"

We may be in the desert, but we are to get ready. Our hope is as good as God's promise! The rain comes!

Yes, Lord! Come to us like the rain! May we not run to the perceived security of religious activity nor business-as-usual, but instead embrace the life-giving outpour of Your Spirit. Arms outstretched, we look to You to bring the rain. Drench us with Your Presence. Overwhelm us with Your power. Awe us with the light of Your glory. Bring refreshment and joy and life!

Your rain comes in Your time and we wait on You!

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
Ps. 63:1

15 comments:

  1. Oh amen to your prayer!

    A very good point that it is God who sends the rain. We can emulate but it comes in His time.

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  2. We need the desert many times, just so we can appreciate the rain!! But how sweet it is when it does rain.

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  3. I will dance in the rain with you.

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  4. Our church in Seattle seems to be dying...It feels like real death and a lot of us are in different stages of grief over it. We look to the Lord, again to see what He is doing, will do. Praying that the Holy Spirit rains on all of you at your church and prepares the way for you.

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  5. Amen!

    He is the Giver and Sustainer of Life!

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  6. I understand the difficulty of being in a church with problems...I will pray for you!

    Kim

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  7. Amen!! This is such a great post! Our church isn't perfect, either, and your words really encouraged me today.

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  8. Your thoughts are close to my own today. My God grant that we see His glory in His church.

    Interestingly, my Word Verification is: sowyn. Like, sowyn the Word...err..sowing the Word. Or something.

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  9. Praying for that drenching of His Presence!

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  10. Yeah!!!!!!

    I am trying to feel the power....I need that drenching rain that you are talking about, Lisa...I find myself very dry...I am believing that we are going to be "rained on."

    Love you

    MdA

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  11. Amen, Lisa. He always, faithfully pours water on the thirsty.

    You might find this sermon by Robert Murray M'Cheyne encouraging:

    http://the-highway.com/pourwater_McCheyne.html

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  12. As a member of "your church," I find great comfort in your insight as to what God has in store for us! I am praying and trust that, in time, the rain will come!

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  13. Oh, friend, what beautiful words. I can so relate to the desert you describe, as you know. I'll pray with you as you trust God for His rain!! And I pray we will see it in our situation, too. Thank you for these encouraging words.

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  14. Hi Lisa. I read the other posts you linked to and I really love your heart for Jesus. I am all too familiar with 'the wilderness', not in our church (I am constantly amazed that God brought us to the little fellowship where we are...it is precious), but my wilderness experiences are more on a personal level.

    I think sometimes God lures us into the wilderness so that we will attune our ears to Him, and hear him speak 'comfortably' to us. Often we are just too plain distracted when things are going well. (sad, but true)

    In Song of Solomon, we see the bride coming up out of the wilderness leaning on the arm of her beloved...it is in our barren wilderness experiences that we cry out to God and learn to lean on him. It is in those places where we find him to be a faithful friend that sticks closer than a brother, and where he becomes our beloved!

    Hugs to you...keep running hard after Jesus.

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  15. Oh amen to your prayer!

    A very good point that it is God who sends the rain. We can emulate but it comes in His time.

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