Rain is a beautiful thing. It gives us water for life but also brightens up everything around us. It makes it possible for rainbows and cools the air. In the OT, rain is equated with blessing. If the Israelites were obedient then the rains would fall at the appropriate times for their crops to grow. When they were not obedient, the rains were withheld as punishment. It couldn't rain constantly because then the plants would not be able to grow. Between the rains, the farmers worked hard at taking care of the plants so they would grow to their full maturity. They worked knowing that the next rain would help get their plants ready for harvest. The farmer trusted that God was working to grow his plants even before they broke the surface of the ground. He couldn't see what is going on but he know something was happening.
Two weeks ago in our James study, Beth Moore (James study session 7) talked about living between the rains. Right now as we fervently pray for our flight permissions, I feel like I am between the rains looking in the distance for a small rain cloud to appear. This affects not only us but other organizations that we fly to remote places in the country where we serve. As I listened to Beth that day, I was encouraged as she shared these five things:
1. Accept the beauty of the process.
God sends the rains but in order to truly grow we need times without the rain. It is a process. I pray that I will embrace the process and grow as God wants me to grow.
2. Actively acknowledge God's faithfulness.
God has been faithful to us throughout our lives, but we have especially seen his faithfulness in our time here. This is our first time without permissions in the five years we have lived here. He has been faithful in providing permissions, visas, and the needed staff. He kept us safe in uncertain times. He provided a great team and great school for us. We have seen prayers answered time and again. There is no doubt that He is faithful.
3. Avoid a caustic undercurrent.
This means don't grumble. I have been blessed during this season to be a part of team that is weathering this time with grace and faith. So far, we are keeping things positive.
4. Ignite fresh resolve through the stories of others.
A few weeks ago, a couple from headquarters was here. As they talked about their time in Albania and other places, I realized that we are not alone. Every place has its challenges, but God uses those challenges to his glory. Whether it is reading about the stories of faith in the bible or another book, I find myself encouraged to persevere. These stories also remind me that God's ways are often different that mine.
5. Ask of God like much is at stake.
Just like Elijah prayed for rain, we are praying for permissions. For us, our future is at stake. For others, it might mean their project closing down or people in remote areas not getting the help they need. In the end, it hurts the people we most want to help. We are looking for the rain cloud on the horizon that rain in on its way.
Pray with us for our flight permissions and God's guidance during this season.