Spring is just a couple of weeks away. Yet as I sit here looking at the still-brown grass, yellowed pine trees, and sparse winter wheat, I see the depth of drought we are in. In a normal year, we would already see green grass beginning to peek up through what remains of last year’s growth. The wheat fields would be full of lush, green shoots stretching toward the sun. And evergreen trees would live up to their name instead of standing as sickly yellow-brown reminders that water has been scarce. The longer days and warmer weather bring a promise of spring shadowed with a haze of doubt: will spring bloom when winter was so dry?
Winter didn’t seem so bad, really. We didn’t have any huge ice storms that knocked power out for weeks at a time. There wasn’t much snow either. And now that I think about it, it was cold but not subzero cold for extended periods. That’s not so unusual where I live. But there is usually rain or some measurable level of wintry mix to water the fields. This year was different. The danger snuck in because, taken day by day, winter wasn’t that bad at all. Until you look around and see the evidence to the contrary. The lack of water could have widespread results on our agricultural community.
Some seasons of life are like this. We know we’re going through a rough time; a wilderness or winter season is expected and normal. It may not seem that bad, just a normal winter without any huge storms. But something begins to feel off as time goes by. Something is missing. You begin to sense the dryness of your soul or perhaps you notice the trees starting to yellow or the lack of growth where expected. Finally, you pay attention to the signs and realize you are in a severe drought. This realization causes you to begin looking for the promise of refreshing on the horizon. You search and wait, but no rain clouds appear; no relief is in sight. Have you ever doubted that spring would come?
As followers of Christ, we can rest on the promise of nourishment in God’s Word. The promise is repeated throughout scripture as a reminder that His provision will never fail. Here are just a few examples.
“The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Psalm 23: 1-3
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me will bear much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
John 15: 5
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yield its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”
God promises not only to sustain us but to prosper us when we follow Him. He doesn’t promise to keep seasons of winter and drought away, but He does promise to be our source of nourishment and strength. When we choose to walk close to Him and abandon the ways of the world to answer His higher calling, He plants us by streams of water where our roots can draw on Him to sustain us in a world that is dry and barren. Abide in Christ and He will cause you to be fruitful despite the hardships you face. He will lead you to rest and refreshment even in the midst of chaos. When your eyes see drought around you, look to your Savior and you will find fresh, living water that will satisfy your soul.
Some practical steps you can take to find this refreshment include reading your Bible, staying connected with Him through community, and of course praying. If you find these things difficult to fold into your routine, start out small. Begin a Bible plan or devotional and make it a priority to read a few minutes every morning and/or evening. God’s Word will never return void. Take it in, sit a moment with God and let His Word speak to your heart.
If you go to church, join a small group or get involved so you meet more people who can walk with you through difficult seasons. Talk to friends about what you’re going through. Ask them to pray with you or begin a weekly or bi-weekly meeting where you can support each other through laughter, tears, and prayer.
Most importantly talk to God daily. He longs to hold you and to lead you through your difficulties and into His promise of rest and refreshment. He is the only one who can restore your soul and heal the hurts of your heart. He is the source of healing, love, strength, and renewal. Let God do His work in your life, and you will begin to blossom and bear fruit. Spring may still be a season away, but God will carry you through and show you beauty in every season of life. He has planted you near the water, let your roots sink deep and abide in the provision of Christ.
May seasons of drought drive our roots deeper into the Source of life.