"He has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before."
I live in a very rainy area: it feels like the wettest, rainiest place on earth. After an extremely precipitous season, we just went about three weeks without rain before getting nailed with a storm last night. We referred to that period as a drought. This label might seem laughable to those in areas for whom it is not uncommon to go months without a single drop from the sky.
This is a great blessing, one that usually yields an abundance of produce for a very reasonable price. But I confess that amidst all of that gloom of clouds, rain and (for up to half of the year) snowy mixes, I often see it as more of a pain than anything else. Has anyone else out there every treated a very obvious blessing of God (kids, parents, friends, job, food, law enforcement) like an inconvenience, or even a curse?
Farmers know what a blessings rain is, especially when they go a period without it.
The people of ancient Israel were blessed with a fairly regular pattern of rain that occurred twice a year. The earlier rains didn't produce a lot of growth, but they prepared for it by softening up the ground. You see, in the period after the harvest the land would harden. Without these ground moistening showers, the land would not be fit to be broken and could not receive the seeds, water and sunshine in a way that would promote the growth that the latter rains would bring.
Like the ground, I think that we all go through some dry seasons in our lives. And as with the former and latter rains, God allows various forms of storms in our lives. Some rains seem pointless, useless and just painful. But it is often through the inexplicable storms that God prepares us for the later blessings that he would pour into our lives.
Did you know that the Hebrew words of humanity, adamah, actually comes from the root word dirt? Yet unlike the physical soil, we get to decided what to do in the face of the storm.
The dirt has no choice but to yield to the softening of the former rainstorms and the breaking of the plow.
We on the other hand, can choose to become harder in the face of the storm, often fighting against the very blessings that God so desperately wants to give us. This may be the one case wherein the phrase "dumber than dirt" both literally and accurately applies to our mindset.
Is anyone out there going through a period of early rain? Are you trying so desperately to look strong that instead your heart is becoming hard? Take heart. God has an excellent track record for taking our deepest pain and trial and turning it into a reason for rejoicing. We just need to open the soil of our heart to God's working. That can hurt at first, but the temporary pain and breaking can yield an eternal crop of abundant joy and blessing.