Rain is a good thing. A nice gentle soaking rain is good for everything and everyone. It replenishes the water in the ground, waters gardens and farms naturally, and washes pollen off my car. However, I’m starting to wonder if I should have invested in an ark rather than a house. As of Sunday, Richmond, VA, reported 14.87” of rain in the first half of August.1 Our average for the month is 3.5”.2 It’s now the second wettest August and fourth rainiest month overall. Receiving 4 times the entire monthly amount in half the time is clearly too much of a good thing.
Wind is a good thing, as it plays a part in our climate, our weather and even in the local topographical features. However, its destructive power is not limited to tornadoes, as we saw last week with the derecho that devastated the Midwest. Most people would consider electricity not just a good thing, but vital for everyday life. I’ve met several people in my life who love watching electrical storms. But knowing a single bolt of lightning can contain up to one billion volts of electricity,3 that’s almost too much to comprehend.
Weather extremes can be commonplace, like a thunderstorm, or unusual, like the derecho. While we may be rather new at keeping such precise records, tales of weather destruction have been noted in all types of written documentation throughout the millennia. Each location on Earth has its own blend of extreme phenomena. It’s almost as if God created these as a basic reminder to mankind that moderation is the goal no matter where, or when, we live on the planet. Our culture, however, continues to cry for more. More power, more money, more food, more attention, and each grab for more than what we need is just like Eve taking the apple from the forbidden tree and taking a bite.
When we reach for more of what’s around us, we are, in part, reaching for more control in our lives. We are pursuing happiness, that drive to fill ourselves until we are content. Ironically, it’s really only God that can give us all what we need when we need it, and at the same time, fill us to completion. As St. Augustine said, “… our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” Some may be blessed with more, not for their own use, but rather as stewards for those who end up with less than what they need. We can read about many saints who beg for the bread they eat, while other saints are known to give to those in need. One example in recent times is Saint Katharine Drexel, the millionaire heiress who spent her wealth establishing schools and missions, all while living a life of poverty among the people she was helping.4
I know the sun will eventually come out to stay. And if it stays long enough to dry out the earth too much, we will be hoping for rain once again. From too many rainy days to too many sunny days, let us remember that we need to seek God first and not an excess of our daily needs.