In retrospect, I probably should’ve brought the map. Footstep after footstep, one in front of the other, each one of them leading me and my pregnant wife farther astray on the hiking trail. But it was a nice summer day, overcast, not too hot, and the trails weren’t that steep. So we did our best to enjoy the natural beauty of the Ozark mountains (technically, the “foothills of the Ozarks”) and continue on our way.
The trail wound up and away from us, and eventually forked, and we came to a sign that told us how to find the Overlook, not the spot we’d been looking for, but one that would do. We continued on until the leafy curtains on either side of our trail parted to reveal a good-sized clearing, a little damp from the previous night’s rain but still welcoming to our weary selves. We made our way to a circle of benches surrounding an ashy fire-pit and sat down to rest, pray, and worship.
A few songs, prayers, and scripture readings later, Michelle and I were feeling refreshed, though unwilling to break the seal on our new little place of peace and let the real world back into our lives. We sat quietly, reveling in this quiet moment, when the rain began. Not the sudden, dam-breaking downpour you see in movies, but a gentle, steady rhythm, the kind that actually adds to peace instead of removing it.
And there, in our time of prayer, as the rain fell, Michelle began to speak about God’s seasons, and how he established cycles, and that’s the way he works. We’re currently in a cycle of difficulty, of instability, of financial inconsistency, but that God is faithful to bring the seasons in their time, and nothing lasts forever.
I’m meditating on this wonderful reminder of Michelle’s when a bead of sweat, leftover from the hike that brought us to this place, makes its way down the bridge of my nose, lets loose its grip, and plunges to the ground below. I watched it fall and strike the ground between my feet, and an even more wonderful seedling of a thought begins to take shape in my mind:
My contribution to the water that’s currently watering the earth is so small as to be insignificant.
It is God who brings the rain. In his grace and mercy, he is the one in charge.
it is up to me to do my very small part, but when it comes down to it, God is the one in charge. It is for him to decide when the rain will come. If I try to water the ground with my sweat, if I try to make things happen on my own, if I decide I know what’s best, I’m only headed down the road to exhaustion, dehydration, and death. I can work my fingers to the bone, but I will never produce enough sweat to water even a small garden, let alone the world.
It’s all up to him.
The rain let up, and Michelle and I got back up, clasped hands, and began to walk back down the trail, back to real life, walking on newly baptized ground, remembering who brought the rain.