The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11 NKJV

Are you in drought or storm season?

Drought is something that we are very familiar with here in Georgia; it seems like every other year we are in a drought season where there is no rain, but there’s plenty of heat, humidity, and terrible air conditions! For the most part, I love living here and wouldn’t necessarily want to live in any other state. That said, there’s nothing really fun about living here during a drought season. Many people here, during drought season, complain about not being about to go out to their favorite lake, Lake Lanier. Personally, I’m not sure why they love going out to that lake so much because it’s become such a death trap but to each their own.

While many may complain about not being able to go out to their favorite lake or go out to their favorite water park, due to low levels of water during a drought, we often miss the bigger issues when it comes to a drought. During the time of a drought, there’s abnormally low rainfall (of course) and the shortage of water leaves us with a production of vegetables, fruits, and other farm crops. The plants suffer, the air suffer, and if those two ecosystems are suffering, then we, as humans, are certainly going to suffer. Droughts, throughout the Bible, have led to great famines. The most popular instances of famine that we’ve seen in the Bible occurs during Joseph’s time in Egypt (Genesis 41:53-57) and during the 3-year drought in Elijah’s time (1 Kings 17-18).

In a drought, the land dries up, and in Old Testament days, this always seemed to be an omen of looming bad times. However, for most of us, when we aren’t complaining about the water restrictions or the water levels at our favorite lake, we do our best to get out and “enjoy the sun” or lack of rain. Rain, we know, is the only solution to ending a drought. However, it seems more people hate rain than they do an actual drought. You see, rain seems to “get in the way” of people “doing things”. Rain becomes a nuisance as leads to people not being able to drive on the highways, cause rain delays for sports, messes up people’s shoes and even people’s hair. While people may complain about drought, people certainly complain about the rain vigorously.

However, I tell you, that I am one of the few that seemingly loves a good thunderstorm. Me and my brother, we like to go out stand out on our porch (it’s covered) and watch the thunderstorms come in from the west. I love to hear the sound of the thunder rumbling and even watch the lightning streak across the sky. Something about a southern thunderstorm is beautiful to us. We are part of a very small group of people that enjoy the rain; a group that includes: farmers, gardeners, and people who just like to get out in their yard and work. I find that the people that fit into this small group love the rain and see it as a blessing. Why? Because they know that the water is providing nutrients to their crop, their garden, or to their yard. Not only does rain provide nutrients to the earth, it also helps to clean up and freshen the air. This is why, especially in Georgia, when we go outside after a good rain shower, it’s so much easier to breathe – there’s less humidity.

What can we take from our knowledge on physical droughts and thunderstorms and apply to the spiritual? What’s very interesting about our thoughts, spiritually, is that we always seem to recognize the “storms in our life”. If I was to ask a room filled with believers, by a show of hands, how many were going through a storm in their life – the whole room would raise their hands! The more interesting thing is that everybody in the room, I feel, would complain about the storms going on in their life. I will tell you why that’s interesting in a short moment.

In last week’s sermon, we took a look at the spiritual pits in our life. Those pits, we concluded, represents all of those times that we are in a dark place where we feel there is no hope of getting out of such a place. Yet, through the story of Joseph, we realized that the Lord would not let His children die in such a place. In today’s sermon, we are now taking a look at these storms in our life. These storms, I feel we say, represents struggle and trying times. It seems like, these types of storms are always around and that they last forever because they are so continuous and so numerous. However, I declare to you today, just like physical storms don’t last forever, these spiritual storms also do not last forever. In other words, I tell you that these spiritual storms are not going to kill you, God’s children – God won’t allow that. However, I will tell you this, the rain that comes from the spiritual storm will strengthen you and will help you to grow. In other words, these storms in our life, are actually much needed for all believers!

To get back to what I had mentioned about my imaginary room filled with complaining believers. You see, we have been conditioned to complain about thunderstorms and rain. Again, we complain about how the rain is going to “ruin our fun”. We take that same mindset over into our spiritual walk and we start complaining to God about all the things that we are going through – we complain about the storm. Yet, God completely understands that we must go through these storms so that we can be strengthened for what’s ahead! We live under this illusion that just because we are believers in the Lord that somehow we should never have to deal with the storms of life. Again, we think that because we are His children, that we should have it made easy. Yet, I tell you that we ought to stop complaining about the storms in our life because those storms are actually providing much help for us!

Douglas Miller sung a song titled, “My Soul is Anchored”. In this song, he opened by singing, “though the storms keep on raging in my life and sometimes it’s hard to tell my night from day”. I’m pretty sure many of us know exactly what he’s talking about in that opening. Literally, and especially in Georgia, we’re very used to it becoming nearly as dark as night when a storm comes through at 3 pm in the afternoon. These spiritual storms can be very terrifying, but Douglas would go on to say, “still that hope that lies within is reassured”. Through the storm and rain, I tell you that the Lord got you and will let no hurt, harm, or danger come upon you. We would love for the Lord to instantly stop these storms in our life but God already knows you’re going to come through that storm. For us, we need to be prepared for the days when there seems to be little to no spiritual rain in our life.

Are you ready for the days of drought?

At first glance, no spiritual storms sound like it would be absolutely heavenly. However, have you ever noticed that when you’re living in this time of “peace” that you always have this feeling at the back of your head that something is about to go wrong? I don’t currently feel that this feeling has anything to do with the drought that I am talking about – just wanted to point this out because we know how life works. To be frank, our moments of happiness don’t last forever. To be even franker, many of us end up in a spiritual drought and don’t even realize we are even in a drought until we are well inside of that drought. In these droughts, we begin to feel like the Lord is no longer blessing us or even care about us. We know this is not true, yet we still feel like things aren’t going our way. In a drought, some of us may begin to wander away from the Spirit, in search of something that will help to quench our thirst or hunger. You see, this is the most dangerous thing about a drought because a drought doesn’t kill you violently, it makes you suffer and die of thirst and hunger – it starves you.

However, I want to take another really good look at the scripture that is our key verse for today. Today’s scripture says, once again:

The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11 NKJV

Let’s notice that the scripture tells us that the Lord will be with us (guide us) continually and satisfy our soul in drought. Now, this scripture could certainly be referencing a physical drought, however, we must not ignore that the Lord is always teaching us something spiritual as well so we must apply this statement from God to ourselves spiritually. I want you to also notice that we are told that we, the believer, will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water. Now, the question I ask you is, where does this water come from in a drought?

The answer is actually quite simple. You see, in that land and in Old Testament times, they would dig deep wells for drinkable water. Many people don’t realize this but there’s water underground practically everywhere in the world!  Some studies believe that there’s more water underground than in all of the world’s rivers and lakes.  In fact, groundwater is part of the Earth’s water cycle that helps to water the earth thrugh evaporation and rain.

Spiritually speaking, those storms that we often complain about actually fills us and continues to replenish us. We have, in other words, taken in the spiritual water that we need to get through a drought season. You see, those storms in our lives, are actually drought busters – we need them! Am I saying that you should be happy when those storms come along the way? No. What I am saying is that we should be thankful for even the storms in our life. So often we only believe we should be thankful for the good, but we are also taught in scripture that we should be thankful for even the bad (Romans 5:3-4). We should even be thankful for the droughts that may come along the way.

James said (James 1:2-3), we should count it joy when we are tried. Why? Because the testing of our faith “produces patience”. Jesus even teaches (Matthew 7:24-25) that those who hear His words are like a wise man who builds his house on a rock and the storms blew and beat on that house but that house did not fall. These scriptures are a few of my favorite scriptures when I find myself going through a storm or even in a drought. I know that in the storm and rain that I am not going to be overwhelmed. I also realize that in drought, my God goes nowhere and that He continually keeps me strengthen so that I do not fall! I also tell you that the Lord will continually be with you, even in times of spiritual drought. Even in a drought, I can declare to you that our bones will not fail and that we’ll be like a watered garden and a spring of water.

Honestly, there are many among us who are either going through a storm or they are in a drought. We, especially as believers, can show them how to seek shelter from the storm in the Lord. We, especially as believers, can help provide them with water to help them through the drought because we are also drought busters. The water, you may finally be asking, is filled with spiritual nourishment that comes from the Lord – His gospel. The water that you should provide should be His gospel and nothing else more. This water is meant for ALL people.

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