Waiting for Rain

August 2015

Last summer, I latched onto a phrase that carried me through a difficult season: living between the rains.

I am living between the rains.

Are you?

The idea came from a Beth Moore Bible study I was doing at the time in the book of James, and it’s lifted from the passage in James 5:

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.” (James 5:7)

I’m not used to pondering farmers, fertilizing, or dirt-based concerns. I like to think about clean surfaces, predictable paychecks, and a stark, steady supply of SuperTarget sacks.

I don’t want to stand on the planks of a whitewashed porch, barefoot, hand raised to shield the sun, as the breeze lazes across a nothing-square, a rippling acre of brown clods. All my investment, buried. Waiting. Working out? We’ll see. Maybe something will come up today, but probably not. The rain hasn’t come. Not yet.

The farmer shrugs, trusting the immovable process that defines his livelihood. He must wait for the early rains. They come. Now he lives between the rains. Will the late rains sweep across his fields, filling the soil so it swells to birth a bounty?

And what does the “coming of the Lord”, the bounty, mean? Maybe it’s the literal coming of the Lord, like it was for James’ readers, who must have watched the sky every day as the memory of his ascent washed over their collective imaginations. In this heartless, wretched field of the world, we all must cry, “Come, Lord Jesus” sooner or later.

But maybe, like me, the Lord’s coming also means the resolution of an impossible situation. Or at least the strength to bear it. The vision to move forward despite it. Perhaps you have invested heavily in a friendship, or in your children’s future, only to be stuck in a no-man’s land of uncertainty. Or your career hasn’t flourished accordingly. I think of our brothers and sisters around the world who have been displaced, killed, harassed and imprisoned for bearing the name of Christ. What has their faith, their work for the gospel, their endurance yielded? We’ll see. The late rain hasn’t come. Not yet.

This summer, a year after the between-the-rains imagery captured me, I am still waiting on the front porch, watching my field. I’m learning ways to get a bit more comfortable here. I’ve brought out a rocking chair, a glass of tea, a friend. Together, we watch for something to emerge, something emerald green, bursting up and out and wild with glory.

Julie

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