I remember one year in college where it rained the first 2 weeks of spring semester. I’m talking every day, all day rain while walking to class in the “cold” of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I am not one for cold weather, and I am definitely not one for walking around in said cold weather while it is raining from class to class all over campus. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best of moods those days.
In the midst of all the rain, I remember one of my friends at our weekly life group praying and thanking the Lord for the rain because “it was such a picture of the way He cleanses us and makes us new.” Well alrighty then, that’s all I needed to hear from that week’s life group to say the least, considering it has stuck with me for 2-3 years now.
Yesterday and last night, it rained for the first time in months in Alabama and Georgia. We were in a serious drought (and probably still are, but I’m no meteorologist). There were bans on burning things because there were wildfires that could swallow up huge portions of forests and land. Can you say dangerous?? As I was sitting down this morning with my coffee and journal, I thought back to that quote from my friend’s prayer a couple years ago, and I thought about what it looks like when there is no rain, when we are in these droughts.
This is all metaphorical, but stick with me because I think the rain has a little something to teach us. If the rain is a symbol or reminder of the way the Lord cleanses us, only by the blood of Jesus, to where we are white as snow and blameless in His sight, what does it mean when there is no rain, no cleansing? Now, I know that we don’t have to go back to Jesus over and over again for Him to cleanse us because He did that once and for all on the cross, but my thought is that, when we aren’t meeting with Him and having a relationship with Him consistently, it’s kinda like a drought of sorts.
Seasons of Drought
Just like the earth yearns for rain when it hasn’t had any, my heart and soul yearns for time with Jesus when it hasn’t had any. When life seems to extinguish all the time that I could possibly have in a day and there seems to be no margin for spending even five minutes with my Savior, my soul is cracked and dry thirsting for something that will satisfy me. When I am apathetic and value physical rest over spiritual rest, my heart is shriveled up waiting for the only thing that can fulfill it again.
And what about these droughts? What about the things that can catch fire and destroy everything in its path? I know there are things in my life, seemingly good things too, that can catch fire and run rampant. When I am thirsty, I will take anything that seems to satisfy me even for a moment, but the thing is, it never lasts. These things–blogging, reading, social media, comparison–leave me high and dry when I need them the most. They leave me with the kind of headache that comes from dehydration. They leave me wanting more.
I am suggesting that just like the earth needs to rain to function properly, our hearts and souls need time with Jesus just the same. He is the only thing that will satisfy us. He is the only thing that will fill our hearts to a place of overflow when there doesn’t seem to be enough of anything else. He is the living water that will never leave us thirsty again (John 4:13-14).
Identity & Cleansing
One last thing, when I’m not meeting with Jesus, in relationship with Him, I’m trying my hardest to cleanse myself because I forget my identity. I forget that He has already made me clean.
Whenever I think of cleansing and Jesus, I think about Eustace Scrubb in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. Eustace is one of those characters that is just awful, but also the character that you kinda identify with because you see your worst traits in the way that he acts. Long story short, Eustace finds treasure on an island and his greed turns him into a dragon. He tries his best to shed his skin over and over to make himself back into a boy, but he cannot. Aslan approaches him and lets him know that he will have to let Aslan undress him. After Eustace realizes what he has to do, he allows Aslan to do what he must. When thinking back to it, Eustace says,
“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”
Keeping with the theme of metaphors, is it so crazy to think of ourselves as Eustace and Jesus as Aslan? Is it so crazy to put ourselves into that story, dirty, changed, and in desperate need of something or someone to help us get back to being who we were always meant to be? And after all the cleansing, is it so far-fetched that we would begin splashing around again realizing that the cleansing was all that we ever needed?
Jesus chose the cross, so that we could know His Father. Jesus chose the cross, so that we could have a relationship with Him. Jesus chose the cross, so that we could be cleansed of the only thing holding us back from the family that we were always supposed to be a part of. Jesus chose the cross, so that we could claim our identity as a child of God.
So, today, I am choosing to be thankful for the rain as it cleanses the earth in a way that only it can, I am thankful for the drought for reminding me that I, too, become thirsty and cracked without Living Water, and I am thankful for the relationship I have with my Savior. He reminds me of who I am and fulfills my thirsty heart and soul like nothing else can.