Before our first deployment, I was not sure what the hardest part would be for me. I had thought it might be going to weddings alone or celebrating birthdays apart or watching the occasional romantic movie by myself. The hardest thing was actually a much more common phenomena…going to bed each night. Many nights, I would lie awake unable to sleep because his voice or breathing was missing. The silence was deafening, and my brain would not stop thinking.
Tonight, I was in the middle of planning out the rest of my week when I got an unexpected call from my husband. He was frustrated and upset. The phone ringing had caught me off guard. He had been tossing and turning for hours and his voice was gruff almost angry. He had been lying awake for 4 hours thinking of me and praying for sleep. He was tired beyond belief, and he couldn’t think of anything else to do at this point. So, he called me.
He was desperate for sleep and the frustration was raw.
He was tired of going to bed alone. He flat out told me, “I want you in this sleeping bag!”
I understood completely. Words could not convey to him or anyone at that point HOW MUCH I wanted to be there. I would have flown, driven, and even walked to get to that sleeping bag.
A thunderstorm was beginning outside and in that moment he heard the muffled rumble. He almost gasped when he heard the sound. “Rain,” he said, “I miss rain.”
I had not known that rain was uncommon where he was, and for the first time I imagined going months on end without the sound or feel of rain. We had had a particularly wet summer, and the sound of rain on the roof had been frequent to me. His voice nearly cracked. He was sad and he had every right to be.
I took the phone and moved to the front porch. Our front porch was barely big enough for 4 people to stand. So, I sat down against the door and held the phone close to the gutter. I asked him to close his eyes and listen to the rain. His face softened, and the frustration that had been tight on his forehead disappeared. He took in the magnificent sound and drifted off to sleep. The rain had lulled him to rest.
I continued to sit on the porch, watching the lightening light up my neighborhood. The white houses flickering each time the lightening struck. I listened to the drops of rain hitting the pavement and I began reflecting on God. I thought to myself, “He is God of the rain.”
I was reminded of a verse in Joel 2:23: “Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.”
Many times in Scripture, particularly the Old Testament, rain was a sign of provision from God. The rain served many purposes. It provided water for the crops, for the animals, and for His people.
Sitting on the porch, I suddenly realized that the rain was His provision for us that evening. Although for us, the rain served a very different purpose. The rain had been the lullaby for the much needed sleep. It had brought comfort and peace to the frustration of feeling so far away from home.
To me, it was a reminder that God is faithful. When I cannot be there to fix a problem or soothe a frustration, He is there and He provides the answer. The thought went round and round in my head, “I am so thankful…He provides the autumn and spring rains.”
Photo courtesy of Alex Bruns, August 21, 2015