Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lessons From the Storm Clouds

My morning was full of errands that I had run in our summer heat. As I drove home I was noticing some hopeful signs of rain as I glanced up at the sky.  There on the horizon was the tell-tale sign that rain was around us, off in the distance.  Perhaps.  When you've lived in a location long enough you can just tell what the weather may be at times without any definite word from the weather guys.  But this summer has been unusual and disappointing as we've had extreme heat and a severe lack of rain. Was I being too hopeful?  After I had been home for a couple hours, though, the skies were definitely darkening and then I heard the unmistakable sound of thunder. What a relief!  And even though it was still very hot, I decided to sit out on the front porch and revel in the awesome sounds and smells of a good thunderstorm.  It reminded me of sitting on our front porch on Third Street when I was a girl and how I loved feeling close to a summer storm.  Today the lightning flashed a few times and the thunder rumbled.  The wind blew faster and faster, whipping up the dry dust and dirt.  Finally I went inside and smiled as I turned on the radio.  Sure enough, the announcers were in full storm mode as they announced the severe thunderstorm warning, and the mobile units began reporting.  These guys had been quiet for so many weeks and they sounded positively gleeful to be reporting on a good old Kansas storm again.

I went about my cleaning, all the while looking out the windows and waiting for the much needed rain to begin.  I moved some plants off of their plant stands so they wouldn't blow over but left them where they would get the moisture that was surely coming.  I kept looking to the skies and seeing the dark clouds, but I also noticed how the skies to our west were turning light.  Soon I knew what was happening.  This storm was going to miss us.  All the rain was to the east of us and we wouldn't get a drop.  How disappointing to be so close and yet so far!  I knew that many people were receiving the wanted rain, but we were not to be one of those. It was tempting to complain, to sulk, to feel envious of those "lucky" people who got the wonderful rain while we remained barren. 

This incident brought to mind some attitudes that I have fought over the years.  How many times has something good happened to someone else and instead of feeling joyful I find myself battling jealousy?  It's not something that any of us want to admit.  I find it easy to compare myself to others and find myself coming up short.  Why do others seem to be the recipients of so many blessings while in those same areas I feel dry and barren?  This kind of thinking will lead to a shriveled heart instead of a healthy heart that is genuinely able to share in the happiness of others.  Paul reminded us in Romans 12:15 to "Rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep."  Unfortunately, sometimes it's easier to weep with someone during the sad times than it is to rejoice with them over their good times.  A rejoicing attitude requires an unselfish way of thinking, and this just doesn't come naturally.  It requires a work of the Spirit in our hearts.  Our yearning for the refreshing rain of blessing mustn't become a source of jealousy towards those whose lives seem blessed over and over again.  Gary, unaware of my thoughts, said it very well when he prayed before supper tonight and said, "And Lord, thank you for all the people who got some rain today.  We ask for rain, too, but thank you for sending it to some today."  May I learn to rejoice with others even as the dreary dust may blow around in my life, trusting God to send me some rain when He wills to do so.   

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