I’ve never seen it so dry in Minnesota. We need rain.
I grew up in an agricultural community in eastern Ohio. One summer back in the late 1980s we experienced a serious drought, and farmers really suffered. I remember hauling hundreds of gallons of water from a local lake with my parents to try to keep some things growing on our property.
Water is necessary for life. You can never get too much rain. Right?
Well, not quite. Back in June of 2012, we got more than 10 inches of rain in about 24 hours in Pine River. That storm caused lots of damage in our area and especially in Duluth.
Our basement flooded, not from exterior leaking, but from the ground water rising so much that it poured into our house. I pumped countless gallons of water out of my basement but to no avail. Five minutes after clearing an area it filled right back up with water. I had to wait a couple of weeks until the water table dropped before I could clean and refinish my basement.
We need rain, just not that much all at once.
It’s rather humbling that in this modern age of miraculous technological advancement, we still remain quite helpless when it comes to something as simple as weather. We don’t have the ability to make it rain or to make it stop raining. Some years we get too much and other years too little.
We have seen unbelievable advancements in medicine in recent decades, yet one simple virus turned our entire globe upside down this past year.
We like to think we have control in this life. We make our plans and expect everything to go accordingly, but it rarely does. Droughts, floods, sicknesses and tragedies happen, and at the end of the day we are more vulnerable than we’d like to admit.
So, where does this leave us? Should we become fatalistic or despairing? I hope not.
The book of Ecclesiastes is a big help. This ancient book paints a very realistic picture of the world. There will be times of birth and death, weeping and laughing, war and peace, etc. And Ecclesiastes tells us plainly that we will face hardship.
But the point of life is not to maintain happiness at all cost. We won’t always be happy. Things won’t always work out the way we want them to. We will face tragedy and suffering, but we can still be faithful.
The point of life is to “Fear God and keep his commandments” (12:13). In other words, we are to live our lives recognizing God’s sovereignty, trusting in Him, and being faithful with the days that He gives us.
And here’s a little secret: I am far more joyful and content when I just worry about being faithful instead of worrying about all of life’s uncontrollable circumstances. I can’t control floods or droughts, but I can trust God and try to follow Him in the good times and the bad times.
The more I keep my eyes fixed on Him, the more I find peace regardless of this world’s hardships.
Tristan Borland is pastor at Riverview Church in Pine River.