Hunger for More

I saw raindrops. On my windshield!

It was a brief and very light shower, but it did happen. It’s difficult to control my innate sense of sarcasm that fits so well with the hard, dry ground. It seems like a thimble full of water on the tongue of a man dying in the desert. But I found myself grateful and praying, “Thank you, Lord, but please let it continue.”

It lasted a few minutes and within a couple of hours one could hardly find evidence that it had rained at all. But I noticed something that kind of took me by surprise.

Back in the spring, I planted several daisies in our flower bed. My beloved has an affinity for daisies, so that’s what I planted. I was particularly enthused because they’re perennials – so they should come back year after year. I planted some other things as well, but the daisies were of particular importance to me. One of my boys has had the responsibility to soak the flowerbeds daily in order to protect the investment I have made in these plants. With rare exception, these plants have received some watering every day through this long, blistering drought.

The daisies remained green, for the most part, but quit blooming and seemed to be sort of on hold. But I noticed that, just a few hours after this brief shower, there were flowers blooming again on the daisies.

You see, no matter how much I try to water and feed and preserve my plants, there is nothing that brings the response that a simple, God-given rain brings. It makes me wonder what kind of shape my plants would be in if we had experience a nice soaking rain once or twice a week for the whole summer. I can only imagine.

These beautiful blooms stir up a longing in my soul for more. As I rejoice in the drops of God’s love and mercy falling now and again around me, there is a craving for the showers of blessing – floods of God’s working among us to soften and prepare hard hearts, to plant the gospel deep in them, to bring the seed to sprout as these hearts receive the new life, to bring those seedlings to full and fruitful maturity.

And so, a hunger begins to grow in my own heart. It bubbles up in a simple but earnest prayer.

O God, let it rain.

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let it rain

To say it’s been a long, hot, dry summer in southwest Oklahoma is a monumental understatement.  I think we might be getting almost dry enough to kill a crapemyrtle (the nearly indestructible tree/shrub of which our fair city of Duncan is the Oklahoma capitol – officially in 2008!).

Homes and crops have been lost in wildfires.  Lives have been lost to the heat.  Where there once were lakes there are ponds.  Where there once were ponds there are puddles.  Where there once were rivers there are barely streams.  Where there were streams there are hard, dry creek-beds.

The extreme conditions have stirred in my mind the longing of the old hymn, “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing.”  I remember singing it in the farm-centered church family in which I grew up.  There were certain songs that seemed to have more life, more recognition in that place than any other I knew.  This was one of those songs.  They seemed to have a soul-deep understanding of the need for rain.  What I know only from a little landscaping and some casual observation, they had lived and experienced and known.  No matter how skillful the farmer, how ideal the soil, how optimum the fertilization, there would be no sprouting, no growing, no fruit without rain.

Do you remember the words?  The second verse always stands out the most to me:

There shall be showers of blessing
Precious reviving again
Over the hills and the valleys
Sound of abundance of rain

Showers of blessing
Showers of blessing we need
Mercy-drops round us are falling
But for the showers we plead

The showers in the song are not the rains for which we have prayed this summer – the desperately-needed moisture upon a dangerously dry land.  These showers are the outpourings of spiritual blessings upon His people.  The showers of blessing are just as crucial to the bearing of spiritual fruit as the rain is to the crop.

Throughout the Scriptures, there is a pattern of God’s response to the earnest, longing cries of a penitent people.  Promises are given time and time again that, when His people turn their hearts wholly to Him and surrender to whatever He may determine for them, He will pour out His mighty works upon them.  One of these examples is in Isaiah 30.  In verse 19 we see a statement that jumps off the page at my thirsty heart, “He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry.”  Did you notice the cue for which He is waiting? It’s “the sound of your cry.”  A few verses later we see the promised response in verse 23:

And He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous.

There they are – the showers of blessing.  For these showers let us earnestly plead.

O God, let it rain.