The Slow Rain of the Soul

by Mike McKinniss

"Lightning" by snowpeak is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Lightning” by snowpeak is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone (Zecheriah 10:1, NIV).

Having recently moved to draught stricken California, I’m suddenly more aware of the various benefits and hazards to different types of rain. This was never a concern in saturated New England, where rain was rain and a regular occurrence. Funny, when a thing becomes scarce, it not only becomes more valuable, but also more particular.

Just the other day, for example, our region received the remnants of a hurricane that had struck Mexico and crawled its way up the coast. The vast front brought with it a few strong but brief storms. Quarter-sized raindrops pummeled the streets for about 15 minutes at a time, with a couple iterations. One might have assumed this would be cause for rejoicing, considering our reservoirs are holding less than a year’s supply of water in their stores.

Yet when the ground is so dry, a hard pounding rain will not penetrate the earth, but instead runs off to the dry stream beds and off toward the ocean. Little seeps into the groundwater and the reservoirs are hardly replenished.

There is a lot of flash and bang to a powerful storm, but it does little of actual sustaining value.

Contrast this with a very different front that blew through a couple months ago. Rather than a hurricane, this system blew down from Alaska, moving very slowly through the region. When that particular rain finally reached us, it came in a vastly different manner, enfolding the area in a dense constant drizzle, lasting hours and hours.

Whether a slow rain or a hurricane, the same amount of water fell to earth in our city, but the differences in their benefits could not have been greater. The soaking northern storm allowed the ground to soften so that it could receive and drink the water deeply. Less impressive, perhaps, than the hurricane, but far more effective.

From time to time in our walks with the Lord, we discover ourselves in the midst of draught. Whatever the circumstances that put us there, it’s not immediately important. There we are in a spiritual desert. Coming to our senses and seeing our wilderness situation, a way out must be found. We must be wary, however, of the hurricane solution.

Relief from the draught may come not from the big bang—the sudden 3-day fast, the spur of the moment all-night prayer vigil, the gorging consumption of the Psalms in a single sitting.

Seek instead the soaking route and begin taking measured and steady steps toward the Lord. Come to him humbly, acknowledging the reality of your desperate plight and allow the slow drizzle of his love to saturate your heart and soul once more. You may not realize it’s happening at first. There may be no thunder and lightning. But in time the groundwaters and reservoirs of your faith and hope will rise to overflowing.