Lessons from Drought
Updated: Dec 11, 2018
From Malachi 4:1-5
Did I do something wrong? Did I miss something? I’m trying, Lord — I don’t understand. These are questions I asked recently, in a season of drought. Though I’d done my best to be faithful, to use my talents and time and resources for His will, I found myself in a season of loss, of drying up, of drought.
Have you been here? Supposedly, we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7), but what happens when you sow in faithfulness and reap what seems like fruitlessness? When you’re doing your best to follow Him, but still lose—be it a promotion, a relationship, or an opportunity you’ve been praying for?
Between the books of Malachi (end of the Old Testament) and Matthew (beginning of the New Testament) about four hundred years passed. Four hundred years of no recorded communication between God and His people. Four hundred years of waiting for “the prophet” who would herald in “the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5 ESV). Four hundred years of drought.
But then, the day came. The prophet that Malachi wrote about burst onto the scene, four hundred years later, in Matthew 3:
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet … (vv. 1-3)
The fruit of God’s promises will burst forth for you too. Maybe not today, or tomorrow. But rest assured, the word that goes out from His mouth will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish that which He purposes and will succeed in the thing for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:1).
And there are other lessons from drought: I’ve learned that as much as it frustrates me, it also causes me to search and seek and change directions. When He blocks one water source, it has not been to withhold water completely—or, at least, not for long—but to introduce another place from which the water may come. To trade a well for a stream, a stream for a river, a river for an ocean.
If He takes my cup, He also returns it—and filled with something better: a drink of living water so that I need not thirst again (John 4:9-14).
Drought for the faithful is not a season to dread; it’s a season of change and adaptivity. It’s a time of gratitude for God’s provision in the past and excitement for new (and often better) ways He’ll provide in the future. And with God, even in the drought, even if you don’t see it, you are still fruitful when you remain faithful. As Jeremiah wrote,
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. (17:7-8)
Do not fear or be anxious. Do not quit your trust. Do not give up.
Next week’s reading: Isaiah 9–20.