I cannot believe that God continues to hold me tight, even when I deserve to be left alone. My doubts are so human and immature, but He hasn't given up on me yet. I am absolutely amazed.You might remember July 4th's post, where I compared my spiritual and emotional struggles this summer to the terrible drought going on in my city. I actually wrote that on July 3rd, a particularly difficult day in my life. Why that was a particularly difficult day, I'm not sure. I could hardly bring myself to get up and go to church, let alone pay attention to the music and the sermon. I actually left during the worship and cried in a bathroom stall, simply because I felt abandoned. I couldn't feel God's presence anywhere. It was just one of those days, if you know what I mean.
I honestly didn't feel motivated at all that day. I probably would have curled up into a ball and stayed there for the rest of the evening if there wasn't a cookout at a friend's house. Even then, I probably would have stayed at home if it wasn't for Rebekah.
Rebekah is one of my best friends in the entire world. We've been friends since early elementary school, when we were next door neighbors. This summer, she's come over almost every single day too, even though we live twenty minutes apart. We watch Lost (our latest addiction), go on walks, take pictures, and talk about boys, God, and other things. She has been a ray of sunshine in my life this summer.
On July 3rd, Rebekah accompanied me to a cookout and then came over to my house. We planned to watch yet another episode of Lost, but as we were driving home, we noticed the sky. It looked... dark. Overcast. Was it actually going to rain?
Instead of sitting down in front of the TV, Rebekah and I sat down on the warm pavement outside and waited, breathing in the scent of wet earth. It smelled like rain, so it SURELY was going to rain. We waited and waited. Although the sun began to set behind the dark clouds, it wasn't raining.
Disappointment fogged in my mind. Of course it wouldn't rain. Since when had even a few droplets of water touched my property? Weeks. Months.
After a while, we decided that if the rain wouldn't come to us, we would go find the rain. So we started to walk. Despite the stormy weather, it wasn't windy outside. In fact, the clouds merely cooled off the hot summer day and made the walk much pleasanter than it would normally be.
Rebekah and I skipped down the road, drinking cream soda and chatting about boys and college and potential adventures.
After about a mile and a half, we decided to rest. We stretched out across the black asphalt of the road, staring up at the dark clouds above us. Why couldn't it just RAIN? I sure hoped it would, but I couldn't help but think it was impossible. It wasn't going to rain.
And then it did.
At first, one heavy drop darkened my denim shorts and another splashed Rebekah's thumb.
We immediately leapt to our feet and embraced, shrieking at the top of our lungs. "Rain! Rain! Thank You, Jesus! RAIN!" (I'm not exaggerating.) You know you're in a drought when three or four sprinkles give reason for celebration.
The sprinkles didn't last for more than ten seconds before the actual downpour came. The rain fell in buckets, drenching us completely before we could say more than a few words. We danced and skipped and sang, twirling around and around and rejoicing in the pure beauty of the WATER that was coming from the SKY. Can you believe it? Rain.
The walk home was long, but I would have never wanted it any other way. Twice we were asked by passing cars if we wanted a ride, but we declined. Why sit in a car when you could dance in the rain? It's not like we could get any wetter. We ran barefoot through puddles (Can you believe it? Puddles!) and caught raindrops on our tongues.
At one point, Rebekah screamed out above the clamor of the rain, "Thank you so much, Jesus!" and almost immediately, the loudest clap of thunder we had heard so far echoed through the canyon. We laughed and hugged each other, wondering if the Lord was saying, "You're welcome!"
It was one of the most beautiful nights of my life.
After about half a mile, as Rebekah danced ahead, I stood still and reached up towards the sky, closing my eyes as the rain poured down my face. For the first time all day and perhaps even all week, I felt like God was near. I felt Him hold me.
Hours before, I had written something for my blog, talking about how I had faith that it would rain one day. That I knew God would send us rain. And then it rained for the first time in months. During a time where I felt distant from God, He sent rain. He didn't just send rain on the earth. He sent rain on my heart that night too.
It was such a beautiful moment. It was like the Lord was giving me a huge hug and saying, "Emily, don't you see? I never left. Please let me hold you."
Days later, I still feel so grateful, so amazed that He gave me exactly what I needed. The rain was such a gift to our thirsty city and to my thirsty heart.