Being grateful for weather conditions, even a drought, is guaranteed to get someone’s attention.
No doubt, the drought of 2012 was severe. A Wikipedia article
said that below acceptable rainfall totals covered 80% of the United States and was caused as much by the previous mild winter and lack of snow as by the long, hot, dry summer that followed. Midwest farmers knew from experience—it was going to be a bad harvest.
It’s a challenge to be grateful about anything when your livelihood is at stake.
Since I live in a farming community, I heard lots about the drought. The weather is a common topic of conversation and more so the closer time comes for combines to venture into the fields.
Talk Behind the Counter
So naturally, that’s what a postal clerk and I talked about one day when I went to buy stamps; how hot it was, how dry the corn looked, and how desperately we needed rain.
“We got rain last night,” I said. “I’m so thankful.”
She frowned. “I live north of here. We didn’t get any.”
“It certainly has been spotty.” I was trying to sympathize. “Maybe next time you’ll get it instead of us.”
The frown turned to a scowl. “We’re going to need a lot more rain for it to make any difference in this year’s harvest.”
“I’m so thankful for whatever we get,” I said. “I understand drought conditions in southern Illinois are a lot worse than here.”
Her arms folded across her chest. “You are just bound and determined to make something positive out of this drought.” Her glare was on the accusing side.
I picked up my stamps and grinned. “I guess I am.”
Was I sincere?
I think I was. My reaction stemmed from a deep rooted confidence that God always intends the best for his children and He will provide what we need.
I’m amused at weather talk. If it doesn’t rain, locals worry about drought. If we get rain, folks complain about the dreary day, how the lower barometric pressure is affecting their arthritis, or that the kids’ softball game got cancelled – again. Our little town sits in a bowl so weather systems often skirt our town, which leads to more annoyance. How come the next town over got rain and we didn’t?
I finally put together in my head why those comments troubled me and I articulated my thoughts to Preacher Creature:
“If I believe God is a good God, then I won’t complain about the rain or lack of rain. God is the one who determines the time, place, and amount of rain. If He decides one area gets rain and another doesn’t, who am I to question His judgement.”
Thankfulness emanates from a core belief in God’s goodness.
When we thank God for what He gives us, we are remembering that we are not alone, that nature is not on a collision course with our plans, and that there is someone looking out for us. To complain would show a lack of trust in His goodness.
Thanking God for what He chooses to do strengthens us to trust Him for whatever happens. If God has blessed us in the past and cared for us even when outer circumstances looked bleak, predictably, He’ll do it again. And If I intrinsically believe He has my best interest in heart, then I can thank Him for whatever happens. I can have confidence that He knows what He is doing.
He is God. Won’t He give good gifts to His children?
Oh, but how quickly I forget.
It’s early September and farmers are waiting to get out in the fields. But on September 12th, 2020, little Roseville, Illinois got a whopping three inches of rain.
“We needed the rain,” Preacher Creature said.
“But the farmers aren’t going to be happy,” I shot back. “They need dry warmer weather right now for the corn to dry to an acceptable moisture content. This will set harvest back.”
What was that about God’s knowledge, intentionality, and goodness?
We’ve lived in farm country long enough to know that every year hands out a different set of variables and a farmer can never predict harvest’s end result. Even when everything points to a dismal harvest, it can comes out just fine.
That sounds like life.
Our family has experienced all kinds of financial hits, but somehow, we’ve come out ahead. God provided. We’ve learned to be thankful no matter what the current circumstances because we know He’ll juggle everything to our–and His– advantage. We shrug our shoulders at the pitfalls and wait for another day, convinced He’s got it all figured out.
That kind of contentment drives the world crazy. You can’t just be thankful for whatever. There must be a direct correlation. Good things equal gratitude. Bad things give me the right to gripe.
When you and I express our thankfulness in the midst of the mess, we’re acknowledging there is a God who is in control of the world, that all that we receive is a gift from Him, and that we are confident He cares about us personally even if all evidence shouts to the contrary.
Would you like to drive the people around you crazy?
- Vocalize what you are thankful for. Make it personal. Go deep. Skip over the casual blessings of family and a warm home that most everyone has most of the time. Boldly proclaim what God has done for you. The scent of your witness to God’s ability to provide will linger long after you leave.
- Blitz social media. Don’t stick with the norm. It’s become standard for friends to share their thanksgiving list each day through the month of November. Let’s be different. Let’s start now. Any day is a good day for gratitude.
As for the drought of 2012?
What happened? My farmer friends tell me that the outcome didn’t make sense. They should have had a terrible year. That’s what Wikipedia predicted: catastrophic economic ramifications. But they didn’t lose their crops. In fact, crops yielded an economic return far more than they should have. In spite of the drought, God delivered.
Something to be thankful for.
Is your corner of the world a mess? What can you be grateful for? Tell me about it in the comments below. Then go post it on to your Facebook friends. Let’s drive ‘em crazy and make ‘em wonder.