Africa has the greatest storms. The rainy season finally comes after months of drought. By the time the first drop falls, the earth is cracked and parched. Lakes and ponds have all but dried up. The tall savannah grass is brown and brittle.
The earth is thirsty. Ready. Waiting.
And then, out of nowhere one day, the storm clouds roll in.
The blackened sky sobs heavy tears. You can feel the thunder deep in your bones as it echoes through the plains. The lightning makes you jump with fear and paralyzes you with awe all in the same loud, bright instant. The wind reminds you that only God could tie the trees down tightly enough.
Africa's storms are altogether wonderful.
And altogether terrible.
Water rushes into homes, through the cracks in mud hut walls and the gaps in old thatch roofs and the seams in tin shack ceilings. Gusts of wind blow right through bedrooms and marble-sized hail destroys gardens. Those with only their feet for transportation run for any cover they can find---the bus stop, the liquor store, the first home they can reach in the village.
The storms are harsh. And unrelenting. And inconvenient.
And yet, they are welcomed.
There is a joy about the rainy season. "We need it," is what you'll hear.
"We need it."
They find it easy to say. Easy to see. Easy to recognize and acknowledge that as challenging as the storm may be, good will come of it. It is, after all, an answer to countless prayers for the sun-scorched ground of Africa.
They know that the thirst can't be quenched without the storm.
Spring can't come without the rain.
New life can't bud deep beneath the surface of the dry, crusty ground until the heavens unleash their fury.
The drought doesn't end until the storms start.
We need it.
I need it.
I need this storm in my life. Not as punishment or discipline or as some cruel cosmic joke that has God chuckling to Himself. I need it because of what's waiting on the other side, that I can't see yet.
I need it because my cracked, dry heart doesn't remember anymore what it feels like to be filled to overflowing.
I need it because everything in my life has turned the bare, barren brown of winter. And I'm despearte for the life-awakening green of spring.
I need it.
Even when I hate it.
Africa reminds me to take joy in the downpour.
For there is healing in this storm...