Seasons of dryness
When I moved to Georgia more than 28 years ago, I was not aware that I would have new experiences in weather. The fact that tornadoes occur occasionally in our adopted home was a bit of a surprise. More surprising was the phenomenon of drought.
Of course Georgia, at least in my experience, has not experienced drought in biblical proportions where rain may not fall for years. The droughts here are more periods of dryness where rain may not fall at the times or in the amounts expected. When a drought was first announced, I became a bit nervous. But, it was all, for the most part, manageable.
During the drought, watering restrictions for lawns were implemented, the public was educated as to the best way to use water, and the lake levels were noticeably down. But the swimming pools continued to be full, kids ran to and from with squirt guns, and ice water continued to be freely offered in restaurants.
Some symbolic gestures were noticed, such as the shutting off of the water fountains on the campus of the Lutheran church and in front of the City Hall, but the fountains used the same water over and over and shutting them off was meaningless except for symbolic value.
The truth is that we don’t have droughts. We have seasons of dryness that will always be followed by rain, the filling up of the lakes, and the resumption of lawn watering. We are not going to thirst to death. Relax, keep hydrated, and the season of dryness will pass.
Churches, families, and individuals experience seasons of dryness too. In fact, periods of “revival” in churches historically are often followed by periods of spiritual dryness, causing people to panic and assume they have been abandoned by God. They worry about why things are not “the way they used to be” and wonder if the end is near for their church. No, it is more likely that they are simply in a dry season.
During this season, one must make adjustments — perhaps pray a bit more, spend more time in the Bible, help a few more needy people, become even more involved in their church. They need to “hydrate” themselves during the dry times, not panic and head for the hills where they hope there will be more spiritual water. The rains will fall again if they just exercise patience.
Families also experience dry seasons. Passion is followed by complacency, the excitement of being together is followed by settledness, dreams are replaced by the routine, and hope is followed by apathy. The family must also receive extra attention — hydration, if you will.
Individuals experience spiritual dry seasons as well. Untended, it may lead to cynicism, depression, bitterness, and all sorts of unseasonable results. Like a church, an individual needs to look to his or her own spiritual hydration — again, perhaps pray a bit more, spend more time in the Bible, help a few more needy people, become even more involved in their church.
I noticed several days ago that the lake levels in my area were significantly down. I don’t recall hearing whether we are in a drought or not. No matter — it’s raining right now as I look past the computer monitor and gaze out the window. It’s been raining all night. The droughts will end. They always do.
David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10:00 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org) He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.