A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford
I’d never even seen a river birch until Walt and I moved to South Carolina. When I saw my first one, my heart was completely smitten! The patches of dusky pink bark that peeled off were big enough to write a love letter on. Its graceful limbs dripped with green leaves that changed to bright yellow in the fall.
Twenty years later, Walt and I bought a home with a river birch tree, and we never tired of that lovely tree that graced our front yard.
But three years of extreme drought came to South Carolina. I noticed no difference in the tree in those three years. It didn’t occur to me that the underground water table that had kept the tree green all those years was so diminished that our river birch was getting no water.
Of course it died. We made a hasty trip to a tree nursery and brought home another river birch. It flourishes regally and greenly in our front yard. And if drought comes again, I will personally and methodically water that tree. Its very name tells me it has to have water to survive. Why didn’t I realize that?
Why not? For the same reason my doctor tells me I am dehydrated and need to drink more water. Water is essential for the human body. So why don’t I notice when I’m thirsty? That’s even more true in my spiritual life, in my relationship with the Lord Jesus. Some days I am so intent on pushing my way through the day, checking things off my “to do” list, I don’t even realize my heart is starving for the presence of God. How can I do anything of value for those I love if I don’t have His wisdom, His help, His protection?
He is there for me, waiting for me to come to Him. Yes, spiritual drought comes into every human heart. When it does, the only answer is to come to Him. God promises, in Isaiah 58:11 (nkjv):
The LORD will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
My life as a Christian can flourish even in times of spiritual drought if I seek His guidance and meditate on His Word. I can claim this promise of blessing not just for myself, but for my children, their children, and my great-grandchildren. Why do I have a right to ask that of God? Because that’s what He promised in Isaiah 44:3:
For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
And floods on the dry ground;
I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,
And My blessing on your offspring.
So when those times of dryness of soul come, thank God, He promises “floods upon the dry ground.” We need never to thirst spiritually when we’ve come to Jesus for eternal life.