I had forgotten about Elijah. This morning I woke up to a drumming rain and a grumbling thunder that didn't stop. I was so deeply grateful for the rain, it means much more to me than it used to. In India on this mountain we have seen every year a dry season building up to the monsoon. Every year the rains come, every year the Lord provides. But before the rain, the dryness builds, the people grow strained, the land starts to die. Many years there are wildfires before the rain finally comes. Sometimes there are clouds that disappoint, or rain that stops after a minute or two. When the rain comes, it is a gift, it is life, it cleans and renews a dry land. When I hear these early rains on our tin roof in redwood cottage, I feel excited for every drop and trickle that soaks through between the dusty pebbles and into this thirsty land, I find myself praising God for his provision for this land. I never took the rain so personally.
It reminded me of Elijah, announcing the end of a severe drought, sending the thirsty servant seven times to look toward the sea, to six times stare wearily at a cloudless horizon before spotting a cloud the size of a man's hand. The hope and hopelessness of that poor servant, and the tension of thirst that so much of the world knows year after year as they wait for the rains. I suffer from a terrible memory, and I think that most of the time I spend waiting for refreshment I have indeed a very dry and distant notion of what refreshment must be, and it is generally better than what I thought I was waiting for.