Last night it rained in Valrico. First the breeze, then the lightning – a spectacular show – and finally a life-refreshing hour or so of sweet rain.
This morning, when Scout and I set out at 6:30, the air was still clear, clean, and probably ten degrees cooler than yesterday. The stuffiness had been washed out of the outdoors, and I could breathe again.
Essentially, my community was baptized.
Obviously, the picture I’ve selected wasn’t taken here in Florida or at 11:00 last night. But it’s one of my favorite rain photographs because, A) it features Rebekah, and B) it was a great day!
Washed in the Water: When it’s been dry for such a long time – we’re in a real drought here in Central Florida – the first rain tends to run off the hard, dry surface. The water simply can’t be absorbed and a lot of it goes to waste. We often see short, heavy bursts that end up in the storm drains and never make contact with a thirsty root.
So what needs to happen, and especially after a long, dry spell, is a good, slow, protracted soaking. That’s pretty much what happened last night. We need more, certainly, and we need it several times a week; but last night was a good start.
We won’t really come out of this drought – and I’m talking the kind of extended lack of rain that’s literally killing vegetation, even trees – until we get back into some kind of rhythm, several times a week, an established pattern that’s more than refreshing but actually restorative.
Spare me the obvious! Okay, I’m well aware of my tendency to draw spiritual parallels. So I won’t go into the details as to the connection between refreshing rain and the refreshment of life.
But I do want to point out the problem with run-off after a long dry spell. Because we need more than a quick drenching that does little more than to wash the dust off before disappearing down the storm drain. My spirit, and yours, requires a long, gentle soaking, repeated several times a week. In fact, what we need is not only to be baptised, but planted by the water.
“Blessed is the person… 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…” (Psalm 1)
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb…” (Revelation 22)
- I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
- I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh.
- I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
- I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
- I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
Oh, make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son. (Annie Hawks, 1872)
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.