It finally happened! We got rain! In a hot, drought of a summer that included a fraction less than one full inch of rain up until now, Wednesday brought us a beautiful down-pour!
I was fortunate enough to experience it in person, as I had taken myself outside to sit on the patio and listen to the thunder rumbling over the houses North West of us until finally it had settled right over our little home.
I sighed a relaxed sigh or two, and smiled a lot as the slow rumbling brought first one or two droplets, then larger drops that might be described as 'splatters'. Still I sat outside, umbrella over my head, jacket tucked about my chin and shoulders, snapping a picture that did not speak at all for the reality of the present moment. I posted it for you to see.
Where I was, especially before the rain and the cover of the umbrella, was a much larger space than is pictured. The sky felt like forever, even while the wispy, thickening clouds seemed to reach closer downward, as if bringing the rain a little closer to our dry portion of the world. Gusts of wind kept the chimes singing to my left, and loosened thousands of crackling, crunching leaves which in the next gust swarmed happily above and around me. It was 3D in a way a regular camera could never capture, and truly invigorating!
I breathed deeply, enjoying the now-huge raindrops exploding against my bare toes and legs immensely. It was cool in a way the oppressive heat could no longer control. The cracking thunder, too, resonated in my soul in a way that defies words or explanation. It was pouring by then, but I did not care. In the next minute it began to hail too, but they were so tiny I thought that also did not matter... until they grew! :)
When the hail got larger and began to hurt as they pelted anything not covered by umbrella, I decided that it was probably time to get out of my head and into the house!
The story goes on, of course. I could tell you how we ran to the front of the house and flung the door open to watch the water swirling and rushing in the street, or the hail spilling onto the yard as if it were a colder, crispier attempt at snow. Actually, it kind of reminded me of that verse "Ye are the salt of the Earth." That same portion of Scripture (Matthew 5:13) continues to say "but if the salt have lost his savour (seasoning/flavor), wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
I find it interesting that the Lord should use a small hailstorm on a much-needed rainy afternoon to remind me of salt; the opposite of moisture if ever there was one. Yet both things can be useful. The water, to replenish and refresh the Earth. The salt, in moderation, enhances whatever it touches, drawing out the flavor and increasing the pleasure of the experience.
Can you imagine, that God in the form of the Holy Spirit is the savor, or essence of us, the salt. He has gifted Salvation to the world, and those who accept that gift are then infused with the Holy Spirit; not to be kept, or hidden, but to continue to spread through the world, touching more lives, and reaching more souls.
It is easy to lose that first impression of our Savior, that newly-in-love feeling or what might be described as the refreshing the 'rain' of the Spirit has brought to our soul. Left untended, or rather, un-watered by the daily study of God's Word, and relationship growth gained through prayer, it is easy to slowly dry up and wither a bit. The Holy Spirit inside of us is quenched; His voice and influence squelched by neglect. In essence, our salt begins to lose its savor. Our eternal salvation has not been compromised, but were we to die in this state, it would be a shameful man or woman hanging their head before Almighty God.
Like the rain and even the hail, God has a place for Himself in our lives. His Holy Spirit is to commune in our souls, refreshing us and being refreshed in a continuous mutual relationship. His Son and God the father, who worked in tandem to provide us a means to eternal forgiveness are to be worshiped and learned about as we grow. More importantly, He, is supposed to use us freely to reach others and extend this same life-changing offer.
Has drought reached your life this summer? Did you find more pleasure in the things you could do by or for yourself than in the serious continual searching for the will and applied living of the Holy Spirit? Have you brought things into your life to find meaning or fill a void that still cannot be quenched or even explained? Do not mistakenly believe that you would have to give up 'living' in order to become a serving child of Jesus Christ. Instead, open yourself up to the possibility (nay, reality) that true life begins in Christ.
You can be cleansed and refreshed by the living water, a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. You can use that refreshing to then bring salt, or savor, the lives of others. Isn't it about time?
God's free gift of eternal life is so easily accepted.
You must realize that you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Those sins are not free, there is a debt involved. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."
Who has paid this debt for us? Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth His love for us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
He died for us? Yes! John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
So how do I claim that everlasting life? Romans 10:9,10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Does that really work? Yes! God has reassured us that it works. 1 John 5:13 "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
It may sound more involved than it is. In truth, those verses mean that it is as easy as praying this prayer:
"Dear Heavenly Father,
I realize that You do not intend me to live in this world happy on the outside, but lonely and confused on the inside. I believe that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to fill that void forever when He died on the cross as payment for all sin... even my sin. I am guilty of those sins Lord, and I ask your forgiveness for them.
I know that I cannot be perfect here on Earth, but I want to be filled and used, and to live for You from now on, by Your grace and with Your help. Please, come into my heart. Fill that void and quiet that longing. I accept You as my Savior, now and forever. Amen"
Friend, your prayer does not have to be in those exact words. I strongly believe that the Lord allows us to tell Him what we need to in those moments when we finally give up all selfishness and self-will to Him in prayer.
You will not become perfect. Life will not become instantly easier externally, but you will have the soul-sustaining presence of the Lord to help you through the rough patches and to guide you as you go, if you'll let Him. He Is the God of sinners, small and great. He will not turn you away - He is already waiting for you. Won't you call to Him now?