Not since I lived in Abilene at the midpoint of a seven-year drought have I been so thankful for rain.
In our parched part of the world it came down in drips, sheets and buckets late last night. It came down pretty much all night, with as much lightning and thunder as the sky could take. It shook the window-casings and rattled the rafters. It frightened my daughter just short of midnight, who found me in the hallway gazing out the window at the wonder of it.
I reassured her I would be there for a while and she could go back to bed.
Sure, there are twice as many leaves on my yard this morning - along with twigs, branches, pine cones and needles - but the earth was so thirsty for rain you can almost feel it sigh with contentment this morning.
In Abilene, the ground had become so dry at one point that we had to have pier installed under the corner of our house to prevent it from falling off. We got off easy. A neighbor had to have twenty-some piers placed to shore up his house at a cost of several thousand dollars.
Yet good came of it. People from all kinds of churches, faiths and opinions gathered in a public park one evening to pray for rain.
One fellow prayed, "God, You send your rain on the just and the unjust - surely we must be one or the other!"
The prayers were answered in a couple of weeks - there was even flooding; Abilene's downtown area was once deemed by the Army Corps of Engineers to be the most advantageous place in the region to create a man-made reservoir/lake.
Like so many things in this life, you don't miss rain until you don't have it anymore. So you don't always miss it right away.
I wonder what other things I should be grateful for before they go missing?
Thank you, God, for refreshing the earth with the water over which your Spirit brooded at creation ... which flooded to save Noah and concealed to save Moses and parted to save the Israelites ... which immersed Your Son and all of Your adopted ones, washing us clean of the earthiness which separates us from your heavenliness.