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Man, It Has Been Dry

Recently I stopped in at a small store in a community near my home to get some gas and catch up on the local chatter. It seems that every morning this little store has the same people in it. They are the locals who have made it their ritual to stop, get coffee and say howdy to everyone who comes in the door.

When the new I-49 was the hot topic, you could expect to hear them talking about that. If I’ve been asked once, I’ve been asked a hundred times, “That thang gonna go through your place?” And, I guess for the hundredth time I’ve answered, “Naw. I don’t think so. Looks like it will miss me by about a half mile.” I love small communities! I love that kind of interaction.

The topic of the day, week, month or year just depends on what is going on. Not long ago it was too much rain because of El Nino.

The new hot topic is the drought. “Ya got any grass left up ‘ere for ’em cows to eat?”, they ask. Or perhaps you walk in the door, “Man, it is shore dry.”

The drought has been very difficult on everyone around the area. It is not so much to lose the grass in your yard. It uglys up the place, but there is not a lot of life that depends on that. But, when the pastures and the hay fields dry up, it can cause some serious implications. When the crops in the flat lands along the river dry up, somewhere, somehow, someone is going to lose. Both the farmer and the consumer will be affected.

I spoke to a man the other day and asked, “You got any hay for sale?” He quickly replied, “Naw man. I should have rolled ninety bales by now (that would equal about 1,350 square bales) but so far I’ve only rolled ten (about 150 square bales). What that means is that his cows will go hungry late in the winter if something doesn’t change. It also means that there will be no excess beyond his personal need to generate some hay sales to offset the cost of producing his own, which in turn can make his whole operation work as a loss. A drought is serious business.

Now, it is time for some good news. Though it is not enough, we have recently received a little over three inches of rain. What a wonderful thing! By the day following the first shower, the pastures again began showing a glow of green. The grass seemed to leap back to attention and you could almost see it grow if you watched close enough. Then the rain came the second and third days. For a time, anyway, the scare is over. It may or may not last. As I write this there are clouds dancing in the morning sky teasing the land for another shower. There is still hope.

Now, here is what we must remember. We’ve been here before. We’ve seen this happen in other years and we know what is ahead. It could rain a foot in the next few days and, though we really need the rain, the damage is done. You can be sure it will help, but once a crop is lost… it is lost forever. Farmers have already harvested some of the crops at a great yield loss. Some of the fields have been plowed under and written off as a total loss. Because of these losses, there will not be as much produce, therefore, when you purchase products dependent on this production, you will pay higher prices. No one is exempt from the damage.

What seems so strange to me about all of this is the amount of damage and all of the down line effects that come from a relative short dry spell. It is hard to believe that going without rain for two or three months could devastate the land the way it does. But, whether I understand it or not, it does and it has and it will again.

All during this time some farmers have been able to irrigate to prevent the loss. Some homeowners have watered the lawn to preserve them. But some could not afford to do it and they lost. The water was not available. They did not have the pumps and the wells to provide the life-giving resource. And… they lost. We did not ask for this drought. We did not do one thing to make it happen. It just happened!

This makes me wonder about some of us. Year after year our people come in and out of church as if we are coming from drought to plenty. We flirt with devastation, never really understanding it seems that there is always down line damage from doing without the precious “water of life” that Jesus is. We have people who cut themselves off from the lifeline of fellowship for weeks, months and even years at a time, all the time thinking, “Yeah, I need to get back to church.” I guess we don’t realize the lack of yield that will happen just because we went through a “dry spell.” We look at the moment, not the future. Our children will suffer. Our grandchildren will suffer. Other members will suffer, simply because we are going through a dry spell. Brethren, it’s time to get WET again.

If you are not yet a believer, just listen to the agriculture reports and listen to the predictions of what will happen to livestock about mid-winter. Watch the price of cotton and soybeans and other products affected by the drought. Then think long and hard about the damage you are doing to your family, both at home and in the Lord!

“Man, it is shore dry!” But you know what, Jesus is still the “water of life”. Would you care to have a drink? You are His vessel and He will fill you.