By Lisa Huddleston
“Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land.” (Hosea 6:3)
Although it is August, usually a hot, dry, and very brown time of year in Middle Tennessee, our grass is thick and greener than I can remember it’s ever being this late in the summer. Lovely—although my son who does all the mowing doesn’t quite appreciate it as I do. Looking around at the yard, the garden, and the vastly varied greens of the woods that encircle our yard in a cozy cove, you would almost think it was still spring. And all this gorgeous greenness is due to the abundance of rain that has fallen with unusual and refreshing regularity all summer long.
Not coincidentally, our congregation has spent the past month studying the book of Hosea. Praying over, listening for, and looking to God for the rain of His Holy Spirit in our often dry and hard-hearted lives. And coming to Him expectantly, knowing that He will “heal us, bind up our wounds, and revive us” (Hosea 6:1). As the rain has fallen throughout the summer and our study, it has been impossible not to think about the renewal that only God can bring and our utter dependence on His grace to provide what we need when we turn to Him. We have sung songs to reach out to “All Who are Thirsty.” We have created works of art to respond to God’s word. We have studied scripture, and we have prayed. All this in preparation for last weekend in which we met for three days to focus our thoughts on His presence and His renewal in our lives and our church. And now the weekend is behind us. But for right now, for at least another moment or two, let’s sit, soak, and even splash around in the blessings of the summer rain.
And it has been a wet one. God has showered blessings on our church. Despite some stormy days in past years and experiencing maybe even more than our share of droughts, God has never forsaken us, and we are starting to see the fresh growth of springtime. New families have intertwined their young lives with ours wrapping tender tendrils around the woody brown of our aging vine. And it is good. God has put a new song in our mouths along with a hymn of praise and is leading us to arrive at a sweet place of trust and reassurance so that “many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3). And that is very good. And hearts are being changed. How can I speak with such assurance? Because my heart is one that He is changing. Often dry, sadly even throughout this past weekend. Frequently hard, even as we lift our voices in praise (forgive me, Lord). And all too often angry, my heart has begun to feel the softening of its soil as tears have fallen to soak its crust. I’m not saying that I’ve arrived. Far, far from it. And I’m certainly not as lush and green as the area in which I live. But I am beginning to see the tiniest shoots of new life poking their verdant heads out of the hard clay of my heart. And that is great!
So … sit, soak, and splash a while with me. And remember with each drop that falls that it is God who waters our land and also our hearts. In season and out, may the summer rains keep falling.
“Mercy drops round us are falling, But for the showers we plead.”
–Daniel W. Whittle, 1883