Friday, May 13, 2011

Grace like rain

It's been really dry in Texas lately. Last spring, we were in El Nino, which meant that lots of moisture came our way from the Pacific. But following El Nino, there is La Nina, and apparently La Nina hates Austin because she never brings us any rain.

So it's dry. The lakes are low, the rivers and creeks look more like hiking trails, and the plants are already dingy brown in some places- and it's not even summer yet. Some days, there are dark clouds that pass above, but for weeks I haven't seen any of them so much as drip.

But yesterday, I woke up and noticed that the house was dark. I had to keep all the lamps on, even after I opened the blinds. After Andy left for work, I heard rumbling sounds and, finally, I took a good look outside. A thunder storm had descended upon our neighborhood- at 9 o'clock in the morning. Having grown up with afternoon thunderstorms as an almost daily experience in the summer months, I'm always a little weirded out to hear thunder in the morning. Seems unnatural to me. And it freaks Gatsby out. He spent the morning sitting on my lap, which meant that I had to carefully maneuver the Physics textbook I was reviewing so that he could have adequate space.

Then, the rain came. Not just drips and drops, but sheets & buckets of glorious rain. I moved my houseplants out to the porch to get a little shower, and left the door open so I could enjoy the sound of the storm. Then I went back to preparing my tutoring lesson.

I was in great spirits, not just because of the rain, but because a little while before I received a phone call. The call was an invitation to meet with the headmaster of Hill Country Christian School, the school where I currently tutor and occasionally fill in as a sub. Weeks ago, after I returned from our March trip to NC, I went over to HCCS and dropped off my resume, though I had no way of knowing if that would amount to much of anything. For months, all I've heard from the TV and radio are stories of devastating cuts in public education. Two of my friends in Austin did not have their contracts renewed due to these drastic cuts (one of them has since gotten hers renewed- praise God). I usually change the channel after listening to the reports for a little while. It's tempting to feel like the odds are so stacked against you when you're a teacher in these circumstances, that you can doubt God's sovereignty in all things. So in a time when so many teachers are in a scramble, I went, not scrambling, but seeking- for a teaching job. And yesterday, during a rain storm with strange timing- I got one.

I'm going to teach Chemistry and Biology at Hill Country Christian School next year. And yesterday there was a thunderstorm in the morning. God made both of those things happen.

I'm amazed at God, sometimes. I like being amazed at God. Last year, when I moved to Texas, I scrambled to find a job- I looked hard and worked hard and spent money trying to get one. And nothing happened, nothing at all. Then, a year later, when I am not really looking at all, God opens the heavens and says, "Here! Look, I've been saving this one up for you!" A job when you're not worried or desperate, a storm when you least expect it- I think that's amazing, and I think He's amazing for putting it all together that way.

Yesterday, after the rain storm, Andy and I took the dogs for a walk in the beautiful evening sun. I said that I felt like God's grace had poured out on me today, but that I knew that, really, His grace has been with me all along. I haven't worked in a year. But Andy and I have had every possible need met by the Lord, and then some. His faithfulness astounds me. We have not feared, we have not panicked, we have not lacked anything. Thank you so much, Lord God.

Sometimes it seems like God's grace is dried up in our lives, like He's forgotten us and left us dry and weary. I've felt like that sometimes this year, even though God has met so many needs. Sometimes I've felt like I had no purpose. So many times I felt so worthless. And for the entirety, almost, I've struggled with whether or not His love for me and devotion to me is as great as His love and devotion to other people. There have been so many times that I've prayed and asked God for help, and I expected it to come in a certain form. When I didn't get the help I asked for in the form I expected, I sometimes thought He didn't care, that I meant less to Him because of the circumstances He was letting me go through. But sometimes it thunderstorms in the morning, and that is when you least expect it. But when it comes, there's something so thrilling and right about it. And we know that God always wanted to send the rain, that He knows how much it's needed and how beautiful everything is when He quenches His thirsty Earth.

In this time that I have waited on the Lord-while I haven't worked and while I've doubted and been hurt so terribly- I have learned, truly, that my God will not delay. At the right time, He will open the Heavens- and He will send rain. There are a couple of areas in my life that still feel a little dry. But I know that when He comes into them I'll see with fresh vision that He's always been storing up His grace for me. That's His nature. Until then, I'll do my best to wait patiently- and be thankful and hopeful because His grace always comes- and so does the rain.

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