As we pulled up to the baseball field today it began to rain. I sat in the warm dry car and watched the team warm up as raindrops slowly covered my windshield with their tiny spots. I’ve had a strange relationship with rain for most of my life. On the farm, rain is a tricky thing. In the spring, too much of it will delay the planting. If the seeds are safely in the ground, too much rain will wash out spots and force replanting. But as the corn and soybeans grow, too little rain will result in dead plants. Dead plants lead to a sparse harvest, and a sparse harvest means you don’t make enough to play the same game again the following year.
I remember summers with blazing heat and drought conditions. Those were the hard days. As the ground cracked and the plants wilted, we would often pray for the rains to come. The fields cried out for water, and our souls cried out for miracles. The weather forecasters said no rain on the horizon. We said, “Our God is bigger!” And we would walk the perimeter of the fields and pray with all of the urgency and fervency our souls could muster. We knew He could do it. We didn’t doubt His ability. But a small piece of our hearts doubted his willingness to show up. Many times, we would watch the dark clouds begin to roll in. We would run in to the house to inform the farmer. “The rain is coming,” we would shout! “We know that God is answering our prayers!” And we would watch the clouds bulging with relief pass us to the east, or west, and the drought would continue. Our hearts were always crushed, but our faith, albeit small, remained.
Do you know what I witnessed during those many summers without rain? As my eyes scanned the horizon desperate to witness the heavy rains bringing drink to the thirsty fields, I missed something even bigger. I was looking for the obvious and I completely missed the hidden. As we found ourselves in combines harvesting the golden corn and bean stalks, we would wonder in awe, “How did the yields get this high? How did the plants survive to support the crops they bore?” We never saw the summer rains, but we always saw the fall harvest. HOW? Because God didn’t need water to sustain life. As an adult I understand. If the rain saved the harvest, the rain would get the credit. This way, only God could get glory for such a miraculous feat.
Isaiah 55:8 reads, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
I am learning not to limit God. I am learning that my way is not the only way. This is a very hard lesson for a control-ish person like me. I can always identify the way I believe the story should flow. But His ways are not my ways. His thoughts are higher than mine. And so I will trust Him. I will hold out for the harvest and I will believe that even though the ground is cracked, and the world is thirsty for relief, He is working in the unseen.
Are you struggling? Are you looking heavenward as you stand on the cracked ground asking for answers, relief, hope, encouragement, and purpose? Are you convinced that there is only one way to save this situation? Take comfort in the truth that “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)