Thursday, August 11, 2016

In a Time of Drought—Carolyn R. Wilker

It’s August and very hot these days in our part of Canada. The rain seems to go around us instead of where we want it to, so that the grass and trees and all will gain refreshment and the air cools to make us feel better too.
We have rain barrels at our home to collect the rain when it does come, and we use that for the garden plants. We don’t worry about the grass getting dry. It will come back later as it always does. But the food we grow is quite another thing.

Nephew's farm

The farm crops in our area need rain desperately. I tell people, when they’re not wanting rain in the middle of their summer activities, that if the farmer’s crops don’t get watered, we don’t eat. Quite often city people don’t have it on their radar. But I do, since I grew up on a farm where my parents made their livelihood.
Prices of produce are higher the less there is, whether it’s grain crops or fruits or vegetables. Think of the $8 cauliflower last winter or the apricots that are quite scarce this year and thus more expensive. 

Our water barrels

 tomato plants affected by heat, but with water, they produce

Buying power is less if your crops don’t grow when they should. I remember years when the egg prices were down (since we had laying hens) and crops got hit by too much wind. We got what we needed that winter, but maybe not any extras. Our parents were frugal—not stingy, just careful with money—they learned to stretch what we had.
Another year the crops might fare better and the egg price goes up, then we might get something extra, such as new roller skates. I remember being excited about that conversation when I was about 14 years old.
            Just as our parents cared for our needs, fed and clothed us, and provided anything extra, so too our Heavenly Father takes care of us—through the good times and also the lean times too. Not just our physical needs, but also our spiritual ones, when we let him in, and maybe too when we’re not so aware of the care.
It reminds me of the late winter and early spring when my father was in hospice. It felt somewhat like a wilderness with us wandering around putting in time, unsure how long that would last. We’d asked for prayer, even when we were sometimes not sure how to pray ourselves.
Knowing people were praying for us helped on the sad days when Dad’s physical abilities declined with each day, or our energy flagged with the frequent visits and the rest of life that was going on around us. God was with us. Then on my father’s last day, when the pastor came and gave a bedside service in Dad’s room, I felt God’s care too.
In the Old Testament book, Hosea (13:5), we read, “I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought.”  The earth is dry and desolate and we feel that way too at times.
God knows when we’re feeling sad, discontented and in need of a hug and he often sends someone to do just that, when we need it most. He knows about our wilderness experiences. God knew too that the church full of people come to pay tribute to our father would encourage us, because they cared enough to be there. The calls from others who could not attend have been just as welcome, like water in a drought, even after the funeral is over. It reminds me that people care and that God does too.

Carolyn R. Wilker is a writer and editor from southwestern Ontario, where she likes to spend time with family and friends. Having been raised on a farm, she has learned to conserve resources, such as water and to treat the earth with care. 


Peter Black said...

Currently topical and poignantly told! Thanks Carol. Crops down our way are stressed, too. May helped our 11 year-old granddaughter to put in a small garden over at her house, this year, and that's helping the girl to learn the effects of the weather on plants and the necessity of watering and need for gardening care. Hmm, those are sharp-looking rain barrels you have. Great idea. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

Thanks Carolyn for painting a realistic picture of the importance of balance. Also for reminding us that no matter what, even in the land of drought, God cares for us! Great, thoughtful post.

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