In case of subpoena (click for PDF version with a few posters I did that are not included here)
October is typically one of the calmer and dryer months here in Tennessee. And to be sure we have seen some calm and dry days. But between them have come unexpected and extended torrential rain and storms. More than a few folks reported how they were awakened by the nonstop lightning at night. As the Lord’s book of nature turns yet another page, I am always open to any lessons that might be there, and three jump out at me.
First is the lightning. I heard a common refrain at work from some who said, “The rain was just fine—we were in a drought—but the lightning I could do without.” Funny thing, I said the same thing for years. Rain yes, but lightning and rumbling thunder, Who needs it? Well in doing landscape work, I came across a very good reason (nature, farmers, landowners and I) want lightning with the rain. One important thing lightning does is to fix nitrogen in the air to the rain making it fall as a mild fertilizer. Do I like Tennessee being so green? Well be thankful for the nitrogen fixing lightning. Is this not just like quite a few things we find unpleasant and undesirable. We complain and want them to stop, but on the other hand, we want what those unpleasantries give us. I don’t complain about the lightning any more.
Second about the rain. Early October is when many people reseed their lawns. It so happens I had no choice but to reseed this season, due to the electric folks digging up part of the yard to put in underground electric cable. So there was the red, bare dirt begging to be seeded with typical fescue. But that was only the beginning. I would need to keep the ground wet for a week, which meant having to carry the water to the area beyond my longest hoses. So I spread the seed and filled the bucket to start the week long watering. But that’s when the rain started. Never once did I need to carry water out to the area. It kept raining such that now the grass has come up without any help from me whatsoever. It occurs to me that the Lord’s kingdom work is sometimes like this. We know the Scripture: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (I Corinthians 3:6). Well in this case, I planted, and God watered and gave the increase. Sometimes all we need to do is just plant the seed. The Lord can make something of just that. I am learning not to underestimate the value of simply sowing the seeds of kingdom (whether through word or deed).
Third, about the birds. Before the storms arrived, we were enjoying the sight of up to five Tennessee Warblers running up and down our trees eating bugs. These birds neither raise their young nor overwinter in Tennessee, but they just stop on the way through and gain weight for their journey by feasting on all sorts of insects, all day long. Just before the storms arrived, the warblers left on their journey to Central and South America. I was reminded of Jesus’ comment on birds in the Sermon on the Mount: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26). Each year these warblers make a several thousand mile journey through all sorts of trials and danger. Yet they negotiate the “storms of life” in an amazing way and witness to the Lord’s care by returning each year. Jesus points us to the birds.