By Debra Whittington
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance” (Psalms 42:1-5).
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name” (Psalms 63:1-4).
This weekend, I traveled to see my family in Artesia. Driving down and back, it was evident where it had rained. Even though I have lived in New Mexico all of my life, it never ceases to amaze me how brown and dead the grass looks and then suddenly comes to life after a rain.
Grandma and I took a drive to Hope one day. Looking at the tiny community today, it is difficult to realize that it was once a thriving town surrounded by orchards. When the nearby creek went underground, everything dried up. Today, it is so dry even the yuccas have trouble surviving.
To the northeast runs the Pecos River, which is usually only a small stream. Because of recent rains in the north, it was actually running, a rare sight. The farther north I drove, the greener it became. I marveled at what a little rain does for this dry country.
Our drought is lasting longer than I ever thought it would and I pray we will soon see an end to it. I talked to one lady who told me that the well on her farm is running low and they are starting to take drastic steps to conserve water. Farmers are feeling the effects, as there isn’t any irrigation water this year.
I experienced a spiritual drought lately as well. All weekend I knew I had a column to write and yet the Lord remained silent. This morning, Mom asked if I had an idea for my column. I told her that I was still praying and waiting for what the Lord wanted me to share this week.
I tried listening to a sermon Mark taped for me for ideas. While it was a fantastic message, I still didn’t feel led to write about it. It was on spiritual gifts and sometime I may write a little about it. I thought about writing about the importance of family after the joy of being with them this weekend. I may write about it as well at a later date. With everything I thought of writing, I heard a still, small voice telling me to wait.
Frustrated, I turned everything off and drove in silence, praying and listening, and still nothing. I told the Lord that He knew I had a deadline and then asked for forgiveness. I drove on and listened and waited.
Watching as the grass grew greener and greener, I realized that a spiritual drought was taking place in my life. Writing this column every week is a challenge because I endeavor to listen to the Lord for His message instead of my own. Some weeks, it comes so easy that I am almost complacent and forget where the message is coming from. It is during weeks like this one that I realize how much I thirst for the word of the Lord.
Like the dry earth around me, I am a sponge waiting for the Word of the Lord. I don’t realize how much I miss it until it is gone and I begin to wilt and wither away. I can’t make the spiritual rain descend gently into my life because it is all in the Lords timing.
We should never take the rain for granted, nor should it take a drought to realize how much we depend on the rain for life itself. The same can be said about spiritual rain. When the Lord is silent and the spiritual rain doesn’t fall, we experience such a thirst that only He can satisfy.