I was 25 and had just landed in Miami after kissing an illicit lover goodbye in the Copenhagen Airport. My head was spinning, my soul was hallucinating, and my spirit was parched from it all. Now nestled in the nurturing oasis of community living, infused with worship and fellowship, I began to heal. I was thirsty for life, thirsty for meaningful ministry, thirsty for God. He met me there, and I was content.
Enter the only man who ever left me speechless. Still recovering from the infected infatuation I left behind, the last thing on my mind was a romantic relationship. But an odd sense of having arrived at home both soothed and invigorated me whenever he was near. Still, in this school dedicated to concentrated pursuit of the divine Pursuer, dating was not allowed. Because of the electricity between us, he, a staff-member, took meticulous care not to be found alone with me.
After completing the six-month program, I had a one-way ticket to Bogota where a visa waited for me. So what was this? We couldn’t explore or discuss or plan together, but lots of logistics required a decision. Lovesick, but terrified of trusting my own emotions again, I sought counsel from every leader and pastor I could find, and surprisingly, they all agreed that changing everything to get to know this man seemed right.
Still, I privately prayed for God’s guidance to be louder and clearer than anything or anyone. The entire direction of my life hung in the balance, so I needed a Word strong enough to carry me through the consequences of either decision.
And then God spoke:
“Ask the Lord for rain
In the time of the latter rain.
The Lord will make flashing clouds;
He will give them showers of rain,
Grass in the field for everyone.”
23 years later, I’m beginning to grasp the significance.
Ideally, early rains prepare the soil for the seed in spring, and the latter rains ripen the crop for the fall harvest.
My soil was prepared by the spring rains that swept me from my country, my people, my life as I knew it. During the months of seeking an answer, my roots dug deeper and sprouts of faith grew strong enough that the latter rain could begin to ripen me for marriage and ministry.
If only the verse ended there. If only quiet rain and soothing sunshine were the only seasons…
But flashing clouds soon boomed in over us, literally. Eleven days after our wedding, Hurricane Andrew ripped apart Miami and with it, my naïveté. Utterly absorbed by the relief work, my new husband found relentless stressors raging in his exhausted body and a raging, abandoned wife stressing his mind.
That was the first time I feared ministry like one would fear a mistress. Was this how our marriage would be? Would all his compassion, attention, and time be spent on others with only fatigue and frustration left for me? I didn’t sign up for this!
“For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
Okay, maybe I did.
More regularly than the sweeter seasons, flashing clouds have thundered through our lives, each time tearing more self-pity, self-seeking, or sheer selfishness from our souls. Each time, the hypocrisy of comfortable idealism has surfaced, gradually making room for surrender to the reality of the good, the bad, and the ugly of life on a dying planet in the grip of Grace.
In the wake of these storms, the air breathes crisp and fragrant, the colors drip with fresh intensity, and new songs sing in the spirit. Ahhhhh, exhale in the sun.
We made it. We survived. We are stronger now.
But we are not done. Just when we begin to think that this is “real life,” the sky darkens again. It must. Otherwise, ease leads to atrophy, and we wither. He is too faithful to allow that.
We are not here for ourselves.
As the seasons sweep over us, our roots plunge deeper into the River of Life so we can we bear healing fruit that draws others, also expelled from Eden, to the shelter of the Cross.
What do you long for, really? How much would it cost you?
I know only one way to find fruit that does not leave you empty: Ask for rain.
“I looked towards the wintering trees
To hush my dreadful soul
as they rise to face the icy sky, they hold fast beneath the snow
and their rings grow wide, their roots go deep that they might hold their height and stand like valient soldiers through the watches of the night. And no human shoulder ever bears the weight of all the world but hearts can sink below the eck of troubles’ sudden surge Yet far beyond all knowing
there’s a strong unsleeping light
that reaches around to hold me through the watches of the night And I have cried upon the steps that seemed too steep for me to climb And I have prayed against the burdens that i did not want to be mine But here i am, and this is where You’re calling me to fight And You, i will remember through the watches of the night
You, i will remember through the watches of the night”
– By Kristyn Getty