We are in the middle of a drought in my part of the world. I have thought how lovely it would be if we could somehow re-direct some of the storms that are happening in the northern hemisphere to the south. Temperatures have been above normal. The gardens are parched and water, even for everyday use, is becoming an issue. As you read this passage, please pray for Africa, that rain may come – and for those parts of the world that have had too much rain. May you marvel with me, today at the power and promise of God.
The flat topped thorn trees were bright with low sunlight as the afternoon turned into evening and the sun set behind me. Their tangled branches and yellowed foliage stretched to the dark brooding clouds that scurried above them. Lightning flickered and thunder growled and cracked overhead. The storm was skulking over the trees; the dark grey clouds contrasting dramatically with the sun-lit vegetation. Two pale-bellied birds soared in the sky, striking against the storm clouds behind them.
The clouds were blotched with yellow-green billows that made them look even more threatening. I knew what that meant.
There can be hailstones the size of tennis balls at this time of year, falling like pebbles, smashing windows, shredding gardens, denting cars – killing people.
The air hissed with lightning that split the sky and the immediate crack of thunder made me scuttle into a more sheltered space.
Now, suddenly, the wind rose, tossing branches in a wild dance, sending leaves and twigs scurrying across the grass, slamming doors.
It grew louder, the storm. There was no break now between the fizz of lightning and the crash of thunder. The early evening flickered and the sunbeams switched off, hidden by clouds low enough to cover the sinking sun. It did not stop. Continuous lightning, continuous explosion of thunder.
The light grew increasingly yellow. Dust swirled in the wind.
Now I could smell it coming.
After this desperately hot day, after a week of searing, dry temperatures when plants shrivelled and children and adults alike wilted.
And the pale-bellied birds soared into the sky, contrasting brightly with the dark clouds.
Framed by a rainbow.
An African storm – in the wild, remote bush? No, this storm was seen from my tiny garden in the city where nature still holds sway in spite of our attempts to tame her.
We did not have hail, and we did not have more than a few drops of rain that sizzled and dried up as it hit the parched earth. But we did have a rainbow, God’s promise.
Doves and rainbows, yellow clouds and sunbeams. And the smell of rain. Such is creation. The gifts of our Creator God.