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Friday, 25 May 2012

A Gentle Rain

Bliss. Sun-drenched days with no rain.

After several weeks of unremitting damp and deluge, the tracks we walk were miry and squelchy. But now, a week or more into a summer scene, those muddy tracks are hardening into solid bricks of rock-hard dirt. 

As I walked this morning, I remembered the caked earth in southern California, sun-baked and hard as concrete. When it rains there, it often pours, and the water comes too fast to break through the tough skin of earth and soak in. So it runs off into the sea, flooding vast areas as it does so. (Or it did, before the Flood Control District constructed an intricate system of channels and reservoirs and dams.)

What is needed, of course, is a gentle rain, tickling the earth until it is soft enough to absorb the moisture.
We had that this morning here. Not rain exactly, but a fairly thick fog leaving fat drops of water suspended in trees and bushes, ready to drench the unsuspecting walker who ventured too near an overhanging branch. Millions of lacy spider webs, picked out by the heavy dew, are scattered across the gorse and honeysuckle. Beautiful.

Now the sun is out again, teasing seeds and seedlings into a growth spurt (I hope), refreshed by the soft dew.

Some people have lived in the glow of a worldly sun for so long that their spirits are dried out, hard packed and unable to absorb a deluge of spiritual refreshment. It can be a mistake for an enthusiastic Christian to share too much, to be too enthusiastic about her faith, when speaking to someone whose spirit is hardened. Far better to drip feed faith, to live it out in a way that arouses curiosity and stimulates questions as the spiritual earth softens in preparation to receive the deluge.

Christians, too, can become hardened to the refreshing rain of the Spirit of God. They can become so busy keeping church life and activity going, as well as their other endeavours, that their expectations of what a wonder-working God can do disappear. When the Holy Spirit falls in a deluge, as in a revival-type situation, manifesting himself in various unexpected ways, those who have been keeping the soil of their souls moist and prepared joyfully drink in the blessings, while others who have been hardened by Christian routine and diminished expectations may remain hard, unable to absorb the refreshing Spirit of God.

May I never become so hardened.

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