Saturday, October 2, 2010

It rained today

"As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for you."  Psalm 42:1

It rained today.

When  you live in the desert, it's a wonderful thing. 

Sometimes the sky is a searing iron, and the rays of heat radiate from the street or sidewalk in wavy lines that paint mirages of phantom lakes in the roadways.  Everything is parched, dry, dusty.

And then it comes.

The clouds puff up like blobs of shaving cream spurted from a can.

Then the clouds get dirty feet, and the gray spreads upwards until the sky is made of billowing swirls that get darker and darker.


Lightning flashes across the sky, sometimes flaring sideways and never touching the ground.  A distant rumble grumbles towards you.  Then another flash, perhaps some virga showing in the distance (rainfall that never touches the ground).  The puffs start to smooth out, another flash, a closer grumble - then another even closer and finally crashing through the heavens above the house.  The first drops are timid - and the size of silver dollars.  They dry almost instantly.  A cool wave of air comes and then - the heavens open.

I had never seen rain the way it rains here.  From two drops to a torrent so thick you can't see the nearby hills.  The arroyos ( ditches) and water channels fill and surge with brown angry water that pushes boulders down the washes as if they were pebbles.  Flash floods come racing down the streets until they, too are aswirl with water. 

And then, drop by drop, it slows.  The sky clears the tiniest bit and rays of light like the dawning of creation poke holes in the heavens and shine down like spotlights.  Everything glistens.  A bird sings as if in celebration.  The air feels fresh and new.  An occasional deflated little grumble reaches you as if from another country.  The storm has passed by.

I was cheering God's unmeasurable power and praising aloud in wonder while I watched all of this.
When you live in the desert,  you know what it is to pant for water.  Your eyes seem always to be seeking shade.  You can't stand in the sun for long - you can actually feel your skin burning. 

In Israel, David spent a lot of time at En Gedi.  It's a hilly country, and the hills are full of little caves everywhere.  En Gedi means "stream of the wild goats" and the desert goats indeed wander by.  Even in the Spring, when I was there, it was dry and parched,. For miles around there is nothing but sand and hills and parched land.

And then you get a little farther into the wilderness, and you come upon a spring that trickles down through the rocks and fills a small pool.  Israeli families sometimes bring their children to wade and romp in the cooling water.  There are ferns in the rocks.  Greenery greets the eye and you feel a change in the air. Dancing through the deep silence comes the sound of sweetly trickling water.  It soothes your very soul.

It reminded me of Psalm 42:1.

And it perfectly describes how I feel sometimes about God.

My soul gets parched sometimes - I feel dry and dusty.  The heavens feel like iron and it seems to build like a thunderstorm until I'm driven  into His presence, to worship and pray for renewal.

And then it comes..

Sometimes it is drop by drop.

Sometimes it's like a thunderstorm, and His grace seems to fall all around me and wash me, refreshing my soul and setting that caged bird inside me singing.  My spirit lifts as if carried on a sweet zephyr of a wind, and comes to rest, face down at His feet.

So today, for whoever reads this, wherever you are, whenever you stumble on this little blog, I pray that you will know those sweet zephyrs of the soul, and you, too, will know the times of refreshing that come when your soul pants after Him.


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