Lord, open your sky, and rain on me

Rev. J. Vance Eastridge - 1998

“I saw God wash the world last night

With his sweet showers on high.....

He washed each tiny blade of grass........

And every trembling tree;

Ah, would he had washed me.....

-William L. Stidger

The day began later than usual.

The hour was the same, but it was still dark outside. The sun had risen at it’s usual wake-up time, but instead of flooding the earth with light, its rays were reflected back by a shield of gray clouds. The landscape was seen as though viewed through a smoked glass.

For weeks now, the sun had blazed, charging the air with an insatiable thirst. At first, only the most delicate flowers wilted from being sucked dry; then hardier blossoms began to droop. Rosebuds aged while still embryonic. Finally,the shrubs lost their battle and began to curl their leaves to protect what little moisture was left. As a final blow, dogwood trees could no longer suckle their leaves, and, the leaves, defying the annual promise of crimson glory, hung rigidly, dry and brittle. Cracks began to appear on the ground beneath.

Then, a raindrop fell. It hit the brick walkway and shattered into a thousand crystals. It was quickly followed by others, and, soon, the air was filled with falling rain. For hours, rain fell from the clouds above, whose shield had become a sieve.

Now, one day later, the flowers are happily blooming. The roses have lifted their faces and the brown grass is turning back to green. Some of the shrubs will rally, but it is too late for others.

Usually, life has a parallel with nature. Droughts occur in lives just as they occur in nature. We were created with a potential for full and abundant living, blooming bountifully from healthy and well-ordered lives. Living in the luxury of an age and place replete with ever-flowing streams, we have unlimited opportunities. Too many of us, however, live in a drought of our own making. We become brittle. We wither.

As the earth depends on rainfall for life, we depend on rainfall for life. Not only droplets of water for physical needs, but rainfall for our intellectual and spiritual needs. Something in us begins to die when we stop searching, lose our inquisitiveness, deaden our senses, and raise our umbrellas to ward off divine blessings. There is a rhythm in living that is played out in poetry. My favorite is Robert Frost and his”taking the road less travelled,” and”stopping by the woods on a snowy evening.” But, each of us has a rhythm that matches Frost, Shakespeare, Edgar Guest, or rhyming words from ordinary pens.

Each of us has a melody to be matched. Mine is best awakened by Chopin, and when the keyboard of the piano is stilled, I yearn for the ethereal strains of a violin. Some have rhythms to match a guitar, a drum, or an electronic keyboard. Each is authentic when matched to an authentic self.

There is a sinew of love in each of us. It becomes flaccid when we do not stretch it to encompass others. Love is kept in balance by both taking and giving. Like a swamp without an outlet, love can become rancid and turn to hate.

Our greatest thirst is for God. Ancient promises assure us of wells that never run dry, and from which to drink we never thirst again. To understand that promise is to realize that our thirst is never quenched any more than our yearning for love ceases when we are loved. It is the ever present thirst that keeps us on track. “Never thirst” means that we never thirst from the absence of wells when we have learned from which wells to drink.

Unhappily, it is too easy to clog the wells for intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic satisfactions by trying to substitute the artificial for the authentic. Ersatz wells are dug daily by those who profit from our futile searching.

I watered our lawn and flowers and shrubs during the drought. I saved some and I lost some, but all were on the edge of dying. Then God opened his watering can, yesterday, and the dying has returned to living. “Lord, open your sky, and rain on me.”