The temperatures topped 110 degrees. I was working along the Red River, building fence in the mix of clay and sugar sand. Each day my boss would drop me off around 7 a.m. with rolls of barbed wire, steel posts, large timbers for corner sections, and the tools necessary to do the job. My “help” was a small ice chest and a water jug that I rationed for the day. Darkness would come before I would see the headlights piercing the thickly overgrown lane that came from the deserted country road, over a mile in the distance.
It was one of the loneliest summers I have ever had. We didn’t have cellphones, I was on foot, and the nearest house was almost two miles away. Usually at that time of year, I would have been riding a tractor and been in harvest mode. But the drought and high-pressure ridge had left the fields in terrible shape by late June, so my boss had switched me from harvest mode to maintenance mode. I had a few miles of fence to build. Just a few hundred yards away the fields led to a ridge where the Red River flowed along a muddy bank. All that water that would have been such a relief to me was so close, but my boss had warned me about the danger of that mud bank. The water rose and fell with hydro-electric generation cycles, so the current could pick up without warning and traversing that freshly flooded mud could be deadly.
Drought produces ravenous thirst. The soil cracks under the dead foliage as it radiates the heat beneath your feet to match the searing heat from above. I ran out of water only once, and it was the only time I was worried for myself.
The rains didn’t come until later that year. But I can remember a stray storm that blew up and gave 20 minutes of thunderous rain. I was so eager to take it in. I had no shelter to seek, so I stood in that downpour, soaking in the cool rain while it lasted, knowing that when it was over, I would be in a sauna for the rest of the day. I learned something that day: drought busting takes time and consistent rains. It took months, but that land recovered.
Spiritual droughts don’t disappear quickly. We can have a “dry-soul” era where we feel numb to God’s voice, to His Word, to His activity in our souls. DFW meteorologist Harold Taft once said, “The only quick solution to a drought is a hurricane.” And I have found the same to be true for the soul. Most spiritual droughts are healed by the regular water of worship, fellowship, scripture, and prayer. It takes time, but those tools are healing water to dry souls. But I have experienced a spiritual hurricane, too. More painful, crisis comes and forces us to our knees in desperate tones. When the crisis subsides, we find ourselves sensitive to the Lord. I have experienced both, am grateful for both, and have learned to trust both.
The day I ran out of water, I longed for it so much I was tempted with the dangerous river below. But I knew that, as enticing as it was, drinking it would just make me sick. I had to wait for what would satisfy my thirst and restore my energy. Maybe you are waiting at this point in your life. Maybe the pandemic has made you dry and parched. Maybe you have considered these limitations and rules to be joy-stealers, drought-inducers, and you’re just angry.
What if this drought is something God wants to use to bring about a renewal unlike any you have faced before? Will you wait for Him? Will you trust Him?
The day I ran out of water, one thing kept me going. I knew my boss would come for me. I knew he would have a fresh drink for me in his truck. I knew he wouldn’t forget me. Even as darkness fell and I sat against one of my fresh corner posts and watched the lane, I knew he would come for me.
And in every spiritual drought I have faced, I have known that the Living Water would come for me and restore me. I believe He will come for you, too. Will you wait for Him?