Since I live in the desert of Arizona, last month was brutally hot. It’s normally hot in July, but this was extra special. The average day was 113 degrees Fahrenheit and the average overnight low was 93 degrees.
Strictly speaking, we are in monsoon season. That’s the time of year when tremendous thunder storms roll and drop short bursts of heavy rain with wind, thunder and lightning. It’s a nice break from the heat. Guess how many of these we had in July… Yep. Zip, zilch, nada, zero.
We only had 9 days that were rated as “cloudy” in the month. and they were weird clouds. Kind of gray overcast clouds that didn’t do anything to break the heat.
Normally the monsoon is heralded by big white puffy clouds that ring the valley. We can see this wall of moisture all around us and know that it’s just a matter of time until it makes its way to cool our temperatures and water the parched ground.
In July we didn’t see this. It was too hot. The promise of rain barely made any appearance at all.
But the other day….
Driving home from church I looked all around and saw the familiar wall of clouds surrounding us. I wanted to get out of the car and dance a bit (I didn’t – family members in the car would have thought it too weird). To a people living in the desert, the clouds are a promise that the heat isn’t here forever and that rain may be on the way!
It was amazing how much this simple meteorological phenomenon lifted my spirits. I didn’t realize how much I had missed those clouds. I had definitely been longing for rain and cooler temperatures. But with no promise, it felt like a vain hope.
I thought of 1 Kings 18 when Israel had been facing a 3 year drought and Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal. On the heals of this victory God decided to break the drought and sent a small cloud that grew. When Elijah saw it, he knew what it meant (a big rain storm), and outran the king’s horse and chariot to get back to town.
A promise of good things to come.
Another thing I thought of when I saw the clouds today was the Holy Spirit. Paul says that God sent the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of all the great things that are promised to us. We don’t have them yet. But we have evidence that they are coming. Exactly like the clouds. We don’t have rain yet, but now I have confidence that it will come in due time.
The reminder is helpful. It’s encouraging. It’s too easy to forget about the promise. To think that as it is, so it will always be. But that’s not the case.
As I write this, the clouds are closer and the wind is starting to pick up. I’m hoping that it storms tonight right and proper. We can use the break and we can use the moisture.
But mostly I’m feeling good about what’s in store for me – meteorologically and spiritually.
And I hope this story reminds you of what God has in store for you.