Monday, June 20, 2016

Clouds Without Rain

‘These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water {rain}, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;’-Jude 1:12

I stared at the clouds, praying their blackness would oblige us and dump some much needed rain.  The red-orange glow of lightning-ignited fires ate up the surrounding mountainsides.  Dust mixed with smoke choked the long valley where we rode as we moved cattle up the Payette River.  

Why weren’t those clouds cooperating?  They meandered and accumulated, taunting us They had every look of a rain cloud, but they withheld any moisture. 

We left the cows at the salt blocks as the clouds drifted away and dissipated over the distant mountains, leaving behind frustration and haze.

“Clouds without rain” trailed through my thoughts, and I suddenly realized what that Bible verse meant—to understand the frustration of hope diverted.  I pondered the destruction of people’s lives around me: a heroine addict here, a grieving parent there, a lonely divorcee over yonder, and hopelessness abounded, driven by fear.

The common thread weaving its way through the desolation was a disillusionment of God. Where is He?  They had searched all the “normal” places but found nothing … no love, no answers. Oh, they found a semblance of spirituality in the folks they met, but nothing of substance.

As one rides along, there sure is time to ponder.  And I pondered.  Profound, disturbing questions pelted my thoughts as Nocona’s hooves pounded the sand:

Are we just too busy with our everyday lives to offer the hope within us, helping the hurting who stagger across our path? Are we too busy playing church, to go be the church?

Or, do we trip over the troubled as we lunge in a flesh-feeding frenzy, grabbing gold dust and jewels falling from a false heaven?

Are we as Believers in Jesus Christ living the Great Commission as Jesus’ hands and feet—healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead … binding up the broken-hearted? 

As I rode, I checked my own “gear”: When people observe my life, do they see God’s Word walking? Or do they hear a bunch of yammering and spiritual platitudes?—A cloud that should be full of rain, but void of any life-giving moisture? (I like asking myself the tough questions when I’m riding in God’s awesome creation—I can digest the hard questions a lot easier!)
(“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”- Psalm 139:23-24).

David’s prayer is a bit scary, really.  Deep down, we all want to think that what we’ve chosen to believe is right—that we have a corner on the spiritual market. However, the truth is simply this: we are all growing and learning in this journey we call life.  But our learning better be coming from “rightly dividing the word of truth” in God’s Word through the Holy Spirit.  And when the Lord in His love and grace reveals a hitch-in-the-get-along in our lives, we’d best be swallowing our pride and humbly fixing it (2 Timothy 2:15).

Nocona and I rode out of the river bottom and up the bluff, joining the rest of the crew. And I determined to always be that refreshing “rain” to those the Lord brings across my path, as a faithful representative of Jesus Christ.

As with everything in life, the lack of rain was temporary.  A couple of days later, the wind kicked up, and other clouds appeared. But this time they emptied themselves on that thirsty soil. As the land greedily gulped in the moisture, the dust settled and the smoke cleared. And I breathed deeply the cool, fresh air.

(Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved.) 

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