Since January of this year, my city has received less than an inch of rain. The all-time low for my city is eight inches of rain in a year, but for us to even get that, it'll have to rain seven and a half inches in five months. Highly unlikely. I've never seen a drought like this before. The grass isn't yellow like it usually is. If the wind hasn't blown it away, it's brown, shriveled, and dead.
The other day, my friend and I were having a Lion King movie marathon. There is one scene where Simba returns to the pride lands for the first time in years. He is stunned to see a dry and dead land. Grass crumbles beneath his feet. Do you remember? That is my city.
My family's well is going dry. Our water is now an orange-brown color, cloudy and filled with sand. We can't drink it anymore. We'd rather not wash in it. We can no longer water what is left of our lawn. The heat has reached record temperatures. There have been several fires recently. Homes have burned down. My grandma's old farmhouse burned down a few days ago. A month or two ago, I jokingly said, "Where's a prophet when you need one?" It hasn't rained in what seems like forever.
Obviously, we cannot have fireworks on the 4th of July. There will still be a celebration. I'll get together with friends and we'll try to make the most of Independence Day, focusing on the meaning of the holiday over the excitement of firework displays.
July 4th has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember. I love the cookouts, the family get-togethers, the warmth of the summer nights, the fireworks. I live outside of the city limits, so friends and family gather at my place to shoot fireworks and light up the sky with vibrant colors. I love the smells and twinges of excitement and the taste of homemade ice cream. I LOVE the 4th of July.
It won't be the same this year.
No fireworks. No sparklers. Not even the city will have its huge annual display that we watch along the horizon from our back porch. It won't be the same.
Honestly, this summer has been an emotional struggle for me. I'm working a lot of hours at a job that isn't for me. My friends are also working and taking summer courses, so we don't get together often. My family is running out of water. My favorite holiday has been turned into a common cookout. I'm packing up my bedroom to MOVE AWAY from everyone I know and love within six weeks from now.
I'll admit I'm having a harder time than I thought I would be. I feel like the ground outside right now. Windswept, parched, and aching for nourishment.
Sometimes the Lord feels so distant.
When I see those around me do amazing things in His Name and I return to my job at a frozen yogurt shop, when I write yet another post for my blog and don't FEEL my words, when I go to bed early because I'm just so TIRED, I feel confused. Lonely. Thirsty.
Psalm 77:19 says, "Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though Your footprints were not seen."
I'll admit it. It's been harder to feel God this summer than it usually is. And maybe it's entirely my fault. I can't help but compare my emotional and spiritual weariness and thirst to the land around me. To the parched ground in my backyard. To my empty well. To the state of my city.
We need rain. It may be our driest year yet, but it WILL rain. Rain will come and nourish the ground one day. It will bring color into the grass and water into our wells. This may not happen for a while, but it will come. God will never abandon us. And even when I'm going through a dry spell like I have this summer, I have faith that God will not leave me. He is still here, even when His footprints are not seen.
If you're reading my blog and I sound insincere or weary, I'm sorry. It's probably because I AM. But I have faith that I will get through this with His help. I'm in a drought, but He will bring rain.
He will never leave me.