I don't exactly have a green thumb. Lets face it ... if it doesn't cry, whine, or beg ... these days I might forget it exists and has needs when we're talking about being responsible for living things. Finally, a few months ago, I found the perfect plant for me: aloe. It has healing properties (its useful), it prefers heat (check! we do live in Texas ...), and it actually prefers to go longer periods without water (cause I might only remember that I have plants that might want a drink about once a week).
The few I have are thriving. And though they prefer not to have too much water, they do still need water. So I'd be remiss to finish my plant analogies from the Bible without mentioning rain.
|This is actually the one that is doing the least well, and its still fairly happy.|
The first thing we need to understand about rain is that it is important. Just yesterday, Shelby mentioned that it had rained on her birthday ... she said that it was sad. We explained to her that without rain, we wouldn't have anything to eat! No plants = no potatoes for french fries ... no plants = nothing to feed the chickens that become the chicken tenders she was about to enjoy! And we've probably all been told by now in science class (if we were listening) that the Earth is about 70% water and the human body is up to 60% water.
But most important thing we need to understand about this important source of nourishment from the sky is that it is from the Lord:
"Let us now fear the Lord our God,
Who gives rain it its season,
Both the autumn rain and the spring rain..."
- Jeremiah 5:24
"Ask rain from the Lord at the time of the spring rain -
The Lord who makes the storm clouds;
And He will give them showers of rain, vegetation in the field to each man."
- Zechariah 10:1
"For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. But the land into which you are about to cross to posses it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven,"
- Deuteronomy 11:10-11
Often in the Bible the withholding of rain was a shame and a punishment for the rebellious nation of Israel. We are not stranger to drought ... but I would wager it was even more of a burden in those times of an agrarian society more closely tied to the land than we are today, with less capacity to store up plenty for the leaner times. I'm not postulating that recent droughts have been the direct result of our Godlessness ... though surely we've done plenty to deserve that and more.
"Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you
While there were still three months until harvest.
Then I would send rain on one city
And on another city I would not send rain;
One part would be rained on,
While the part not rained on would dry up.
So two or three cities would stagger to another city to drink water,
But would not be satisfied;
Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the Lord."
- Amos 4:7-8
"...the showers have been withheld,
And there has been no spring rain.
Yet you had a harlot's forehead;
You refused to be ashamed."
- Jeremiah 3:3
"When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin when You afflict them;"
- 2 Chronicles 6:26
Yet other times, too much rain can be God's chosen method of cleansing the Earth of human unrighteousness. While my aloe plants are easy because they don't require much water - more often than not too much water is what causes problems with this easy to care for plant. Only the Lord knows what delicate balances we need ... and only He has the power to provide for us when the weather makes it seem impossible, as He did for Elijah and the widow He sent him to when He withheld rain from Israel for three and a half years. We can trust that He will care for us through the drought or the storm if we are faithful.
"The Lord said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them ...
... I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made."
- Genesis 6:7 and 7:4
"...The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth."
- 1 Kings 17:14
Why can we trust Him? He is faithful. He knows what we need. He has promised never to destroy the earth by flood again, and He has sent a new kind of flood in its place. Rather than wiping us out, He has sent us living water to rescue us. Just as plants cannot live without rain, we will not live with Him if we are not cleansed by His reign in our lives.
"I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be fore a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh."
- Genesis 9:13-15
"...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."
- John 4:14