I’m clearing away breakfast dishes when he tells me I better hurry.
He’s clicking through screens. “Radar shows the rain is almost here. If we leave now, we can get there before it blows in.”
The sky opens its mouth, and I hear it groaning — a gutteral churning that will lead a dark march of clouds toward the farm.
I hurry, but I still must dry my hair, and I have yet to find the girls’ Sunday shoes. I ask my husband — the weather-watcher — if he’d stir the casserole dish one last time before we head out the door for worship and potluck.
I race for the bathroom and the blowdryer for a quick dry, but there’s no time for a curling iron. The girls find their shoes, and we all buckle in. I set a white casserole dish at my feet, and we drive west.
The weather-watching farmer says it’s probably too late. We’re only a mile from our country church, but the storm is even closer.
He knows how fast clouds can move, and he knows when the rain will come, because this is what farmers do: They track the skies. The work of their hands, here on Earth, is tied to the work of God, who is the father of rain.
It has been weeks and weeks since rain fell here. The ground is parched, the crops are thirsty, and we’ve been asking God to tip over the water jars of the heavens.
The tipping happens when we are one-half mile from the church doors. It comes in a torrent, sheet upon sheet of rain from a weeping sky.
“Sorry.” I say this one word because we are too late to beat the storm, but really, no one is complaining. How could we? And why? That we will get a little wet in a rainshower? That we might not come through it looking great, or even good?
And what if we could walk through life’s storms, knowing we’re going to get wet and maybe even dirty, but that storms carry grace on even the darkest clouds?
What if I realized that life isn’t about me?
He tells us he’ll park near the kitchen door, and we all need to make a run for it. On the count of three, we open our doors. The girls are squealing and running straight through puddles. I can’t run. I’m carrying a casserole dish in my arms, and the rain beats on the tinfoil top like a cymbal.
I step across the threshhold into the kitchen, where the women are gathered around 9-by-13 pans and glass salad bowls. I stand on the rug, and I am a dripping sponge needing wrung dry, and the room howls with laughter, for it looks like I took a shower with all my clothes on. (I tell them how I’d just blown-dry this hair five minutes ago.)
I’m a bit of a mess, and someone hands me a dish towel. I walk into the sanctuary, then slip into the front pew beside my family. We are wet, dripping from skirt hems and brown locks. And we are this: A family drenched in rain, drenched in grace.
PHOTO: Morning dew on soybean leaf.
I do not understand the laws of the heavens. I do not know the ways of a sovereign and holy God. I don’t know the answers, but I know the One who does. So I join in the prayers for all who cry out for mercy as creation groans.
Are you looking for a little relief today, a little assurance, or maybe a promise that God is near as the storm blows through … or as the drought persists? May I suggest:
A devotional: The Rev. Mark D. Roberts writes about the Groaning of Creation. “When hurricanes devastate coastal cities or earthquakes destroy hospitals and schools, we witness the groaning of the natural world. We also long for the day when the brokenness of this world will be mended.”
A promise: Job 38 reminds us that God is sovereign. He has all the forces of nature at His command.
A prayer: Gordon Atkinson, in drought-striken Texas, reminds us that even our planet is alive and has its own needs. Gordon’s essay over here at TheHighCalling.org dramatically changed the way I looked at our weather patterns. “Plates must shift, meaning earthquakes and tsunamis happen. … Jesus said that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. I take that to mean that drought happens to the just and the unjust as well.”
A story: Ann Voskamp — and her Farmer — find words that I can only grope for. Find her story here.
A song: I’m praying for this, for all of us, no matter where we live, or what we face.
Linking up today with Michelle DeRusha’s “Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday” series…