Wow! It seems like forever since we’ve had rain here in Alton. Officially we had 2.2 inches in May, 2 inches in June but only .15 of an inch in the entire month of July. We are now officially in drought conditions. In some places the farmers are deciding to plow under their corn because the cost of harvesting will exceed the value of what they harvest. I’m sure you’ve seen the cornfields that already look ready to harvest and yet they have no ears of corn on their stalks.
That’s what drought does, it makes things look like they are all right when in fact they are very bad.
Have you ever experienced a spiritual drought? I have.
Like natural drought it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long, slow process where every day can be just like every other day with only one thing missing, the presence of God in the form of the Holy Spirit. For me it’s often something that changes my routine. Some extra thing in my schedule, some big event on the horizon, or anything that causes me to develop a pattern that squeezes out some or all of my time with God. At first it really doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. Everything is still green and there is still fruit on the trees. But with each passing day of missing the refreshing that comes in God’s presence things dry a little more. Almost without notice things begin to get brown. Things begin to die and the ground begins to crack open until one day you look around and everything is dead! It can happen so easily.
Over and over in the scriptures the Holy Spirit is represented by different symbols. Oil, fire, and wind are all symbols of the Holy Spirit in the scriptures, but perhaps the most common symbol of the Holy Spirit is water! Rain, dew, springs, and rivers are all used to describe the Holy Spirit. In almost all of these references there is a refreshing or strengthening that accompanies the Holy Spirit represented by water.
In John 7:38 we read:
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ “
Not just water, but living water!
You see, something flows out of each of us every day. If we are refreshed by God’s Spirit and His word then living water flows from us and touches and refreshes everyone it contacts. God’s presence manifests itself in kindness, service, strength, forgiveness or in short the Spirit of Christ. In times of spiritual drought we still have something flowing from us but it causes pain, stagnation, and hurt. It’s our normal human state that only the refreshing touch of God overcomes. When we have extended periods without a touch from God, just like ground that has had no rain, we begin to die until eventually we bring death to everything in our life.
The good news is that droughts come to an end. Even thought it’s been a very hot dry summer here in Alton we all know that the refreshing coolness and rains of Fall are coming! Droughts don’t last forever. Unlike the natural world, you and I don’t have to wait on the rain. It’s available anytime. Simply make some time for God’s word, worship, and His presence and you will find that it’s always raining in His presence!