The rain falls softly and I drink in the sound as I stand still on the porch and look out into grey skies. We’ve had a few rainy days this summer – a few – but not enough and I wonder if fall rains are too late for drought parched pastures to produce any more grass before winter.
Rain…in the midst of the worse drought ever recorded it has become such a rarity that even a few tenths seem like a downpour. We get just a little and I am amazed at how quickly we forget that we are still in the midst of a severe drought. Just a little and suddenly normal seems to have once again settled over the land. How quickly we forget what is normal. The average rainfall for our area is 19 to 20 inches. Last year we received less than 6 inches of rain – 13 to 14 inches below average. This year there has been more rain but we are still many inches below normal, and yet a little rain and even I forget how many sunny, cloudless days have passed without a single teardrop from the sky. We live in a drought for awhile and we quickly settle for less than average.
As I stand and listen to the steady rhythm of the rain, I breathe deep and slowly relax. It is nice to breathe slowly and I think how easily I forget….I forget that this is how it should be… this is normal…this slow intake of the breath and steady rhythm of the heart. I forget that we were created to stand quiet and rest in peace even when the rain is falling – especially when the rain is falling. I forget abundant peace is normal because the work is finished, the conflict is over, and the battle has already been won.
Guilt and shame can saddle us with the burden of works for so long that when a short shower of grace refreshes us, we quickly resume our load and forget that the lifted load is normal. A little heavenly rain falls and we quickly forget that grace falls in abundance. We forget that abundant grace is normal. We forget there is victory even though the world before our eyes still bears the scars of battle and the rubble of shattered lives is scattered all about us; we forget as we witness injured soldiers wandering about with empty, shell-shocked eyes and others lying wounded and bleeding, crying out for help. And there in the midst of an empty battlefield we find we are suddenly motionless because we still hear the chaos of battle; we are unable to move because we still feel broken and we are unable to assist because we are still trying to save ourselves. We have forgotten the shower of grace that cleansed and covered us.
I stand and listen to life giving rain and I wonder why I so easily forget the work is finished, the load is lifted, grace has covered and cleansed. Instead of trying to crawl across the battlefield to help those who are hurting because I should – because it is the right thing to do –I forget to stop and listen. I forget to stop and listen to the silence of peace because there is no noise of conflict and I am not stooped under the burden of sin. But when I no longer hear the noise of conflict; when I remember I am cleansed and covered, then I am compelled by love – not duty – to carry grace to those who still hear the battle ringing in their ears.