Quite a difference, huh? Is it the sunlight and then the lack thereof? No, Idaho has many days of sunlight, and even though it was a bit cloudy when I took the second picture, the sun had been shining all day.
In a word: water. Water is a precious commodity in the high desert, and nothing illustrates that more than when we leave the rain of spring and enter into heat of summer. Then we get something called "dry rain." I had no idea what that was, and an elderly gentleman referred to it while we were talking one day, not long after I moved to Boise. I asked, "What's that?" and he looked a bit surprised that I didn't know. He explained that it's rain that falls from the sky but never hits the earth, due to the heat.
Those are exactly the conditions we have now:
You can see the rain curtain but it is not hitting the earth. We hit 100 degrees today and with that hot air rising, the rain doesn't stand a chance. Compare that to just a few weeks ago, when we had a cool mass of air move in and the glorious rain fell:
The massive amount of water in the air took the sunlight and rendered it as a rainbow. The air was cool and the rain refreshed the earth. The days of dry rain are upon us. We get thunder and lightning--all the trapping of a storm, but without that crucial element: water.
I reflect on how this so corresponds to our walk with Jesus. We can feel His sunlight and warmth in our lives--we have accepted Him as Savior and know that He has forgiven our sins. With sins paid for, we are free to come to His Father. Now, there are no walls, only open doors: "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.' So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir" (Galatians 4:4-7). So, we are now part of God's family and we can bask in the light of His mercy and grace.
But once our place in Him is secured by the work of His Son, we need to be walking every day in His Presence. We need water every day--you can last maybe three days without it. We need Him everyday. We cannot walk abundantly without Him. Our lives can start to slowly but surely shrivel up.
Water is equally important to the Jewish people, due to the desert conditions that they faced throughout their history. So, water in the Bible can mean judgment. Look how God used an overabundance of rain to wipe sin from the earth; it is a judgment, but also a cleansing. Perhaps another way to look at the flood is it was a global baptism, meant to wash away the sin of mankind, and the new life come forth from the ark.
Water was also used in a judging and cleansing way when the Red Sea parted for the Israelites, but then closed over and drowned Pharoah's army. The water removed or cleansed away, as it were, the Egyptians' control from the lives of the people.
Water was used to demonstrate God's provision. Moses struck a rock to bring forth water for the people as they wandered in the desert. Paul says ultimately that this rock was Christ: "They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ." (1 Cor. 10:3-4).
Christ was struck for our sins. The water that comes from Him is His Spirit. We are filled and with that abundance and we are able to reach out and touch others: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them" (John 7:37-8).
The "heat" of our sin, our attitudes and our disobedience will keep His refreshing rain at a distance. Solution? "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Water is potent in a dry land. His water is potent in a dry soul. We need His Spirit to be raining upon us. We, in turn, must be obedient. The dry rain in our lives needs the Living Water of Christ. Christ as Savior in my life is only the first step. I must walk daily with Him as He seeks to be Lord of my life.
Good news: just as I was writing this, the dry rain actually fell to earth in a glorious shower. I went outside and sat on my porch, reveling in the refreshing, cool air. We all need to spend time on His porch, reveling in His refreshing, cooling Presence. The heat will come, the land will dry up, but Christ is faithful: "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10).