Okay rain, stop.
My mom, a farmer’s wife, has what to her is a treasure on her back deck—a rain gauge. While meteorologists may have slightly more sophisticated data collecting software, she’s faithful in writing daily rainfall amounts on a pad on her refrigerator.
So yes, there’s August, 2018. Totals vary across our neighborhoods, but as of this writing, my mom records 16 inches of rain in the past 16 days.
A man I dearly treasure at Tingley Lake just above Harford told me today, “You know, I am 70-years-old. I’ve lived here all my life. I have never seen rainfall like this.”
What IS God doing?
I worked on my extended family’s Christmas tree farm back in the days. It was my first job. As a teen, I was like many who would pray for rain on long, hot August afternoons. I mean, PRAY for rain. PRAY like any passionate preacher with a soul on fire would PRAY.
After seminary, why didn’t I put this vocational gift on my resume?
You remember the August days of yore. If, by chance, a dark cloud happened to loom on the horizon, my hope would rise. The breeze that forgot who we were found us again…and…and…maybe we’d see a few spits of rain, and then, to the dismay of every parched thing under the great heavens, the cloud passed. Now when someone in the Northeast corner of Pennsylvania sees a dark cloud rising on the horizon, it’s not a question if it will rain; it’s a question when it will rain.
Just tonight one little cloud poked in from the West. Just one. Hardly that dark. And under it I’m doing what everybody else is doing in Susquehanna County when it’s not raining—I’m frantically mowing the lawn.
And then, yes…that little stinker cloud….it dumps on me, my lawn mower, and my soggy lawn.
This little lament is nothing to those with flooded basements, damaged cars, washed away streets, and nearby, necessary bridges that, now gone, are making travel a stressor. Some of us in low-lying areas have had to be evacuated. Because of location, some of us cannot get flood insurance and in the days ahead will literally be paying the price.
So, where is God in this?
God is where God has always been. God is the one who is encouraging, nudging, reminding or calling us to literally love our neighbor. This time it’s the one shin or knee deep in muddy water.
Facebook and other social media sites have been loaded with raging water pics. How many pictures show neighbors helping neighbors in the clean-up? People are helping others. These pics need to be seen, too.
And this is where God is. God is in the conversations you have with the person you may see regularly but rarely talk with. What we all mourn is “community.” I don’t think God sent rains to punish us. I believe God sent these rains as a way of helping us see—and help—those literally close to us.
We may not be finished with the rain. August ain’t over. Fire up your frontend loader. Grab a shovel. Move rocks from your street. Make a dinner and send it down to the family who spent the day with a sump pump. And while you do this, pay attention to just how God is speaking right to your heart.
This blog first appeared in The Susquehanna Independent on August 22nd, 2018.