Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Autumn Rains

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. Psalm 84:6 NLT

Those sunny days and cool nights have been my favorite season since I met my Best back when I was days and days past twenty. But when you toss in those dripping, chilly, overcast-with-gloom kind of weather, well, those aren't my favorite. There's just something, umm, uncomfortable, about those hours. Those are the times I want to hibernate in my craft room, oblivious to all that is foul outside my window. 
Given that perspective, I was challenged by the phrase that autumn rains could be associated with blessing. And that's not the only place where Scripture combines chilly, damp with God's goodness! 

Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for He has given you the autumn rains, because He is faithful. Joel 2:23 NIV
I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. Ezekiel 34:26 NIV

I needed to understand this whole autumn rains business. What purpose did they serve? Because, honestly, I'm still back here on the "this is uncomfortable and I want to hibernate" page. 
What I discovered was that Palestine has basically two seasons: the wet one and the bone-dry one.  There were no great rivers; people had to rely solely on the rainy season  for water for themselves, their animals, their fields. That wet season accounted for more than 90% of their national rainfall. The autumn rains began in October/ November and were essential in softening the ground in preparation for ploughing and sowing. So when the rains began on time and were sufficient, they became a demonstration of God's goodness and His faithfulness towards His people. All that damp and chilly became blessings. 
In Palestine, like our own lives, the dry was followed by the damp. 
So when, not if or maybe, but when, you and I have to traverse the Valley of Weeping, "A dry, sandy valley where the people are ready to perish from thirst", (Matthew Henry), then we can be confident of the faithfulness of our God. We can trust, that even that dry season will soon become a place of refreshment. It will be clothed with blessings. 
All those sloppy-wet and cold days, are designed to soften our hearts, to bring new growth, renewed hope. 
This is another example of the uncomfortable becoming a gift, and a reminder of God's goodness towards us. Anyplace where God wants to show up is where I want to be. Even in the autumn rains. 

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