It started bad, then improved, and then plummeted to a different kind of worse. That’s the water situation in California right now.
For the past few months and years, the Golden State has experienced an intense drought. Lakes and reservoirs have been depleted and strict water restrictions have been set in place. Yet this week, reservoirs are overflowing, streets are flooding, and even dams have been on the verge of bursting due to rounds of heavy rain.
For a state that needed water for so long, California has quickly been overcome by the very resource that its residents desperately hoped for.
It’s a situation that I’ve seen play out in my life, and maybe you have experienced it too. Life is going well… but then a drought sets in. It could be a spiritual drought where you feel far from God, or a lack of basic resources such as money and food, or unhappiness in a marriage.
One of my more recent droughts was the unemployment period after college. After years of hard work, I anticipated a time of abundance — an abundance of job offers, fulfilling opportunities, and “next step” answers. Instead, I spent weeks writing cover letters, filling out applications, and questioning the direction I had taken.
During that time of drought, I was reminded in numerous ways to trust God and to be thankful in all circumstances, even the difficult ones. Then the rain came.
Within a span of two months, God poured tremendous blessings into my life. He opened doors and answered the big questions. I was thankful as the blessings first arrived. Yet with God’s answers came new responsibilities and work that seemed to sweep me away. Stress replaced thankfulness, and worry replaced trust. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I allowed these blessings to become a flood of to-do list items that distracted me from God.
I share this story as a reminder that even good things — God’s gifts to us — can become idols in our lives if we allow them to. This can look different for each person. Maybe the joy of parenting has given way to constant stress as your family juggles a jam-packed schedule. Maybe your commitment to good health has resulted in an obsession with tracking steps and logging calories. Or, maybe your desire to make a positive impact in the community, school or church has left you exhausted and overcommitted yet unable to say “no.”
No matter what the situation, we enable God’s blessings to become a flood when we focus on the storm instead of Him, the Creator who calms the winds and parts the waters. God is the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), but he doesn’t shower us with blessings so that we will be distracted and overwhelmed by them.
Rather than being washed downstream by the responsibilities or new worries that may accompany a blessing, let’s give thanks to Him in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Let’s trust Him to work for our good in all things (Romans 8:28). Let’s find our strength in Him. Whether the rain is falling or we’re stuck in a drought, keeping our eyes on Him is what’s most important.
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11–13)
Authored by NCC Blog Editor Catie Jones | northcentral.org