One of my most vivid childhood memories was in 1971, when my family was held hostage in a tiny room of the Ocean Isle Inn. The villain was appropriately named Hurricane Beth. Day after day we played with a single deck of cards and stuffed our beach towels under the hotel door to keep the driving water on the outside. Toward the end of the week, we spent our time guaging the distance from our room to the waves and wagering whether we could make it to the water’s edge before the next band of wind and rain appeared. Under Mama’s watchful eye, we made it a time or two, but it never lasted more than a few minutes before we were recalled to the safety of our four walls.
A year later I was nine years old, and the Yadkin River had spilled out of its banks causing our local creeks to become raging swirls of rushing white force. To my young mind, our familiar little stream had been swallowed up by the fierce water monster before me. I had never seen anything that looked so powerful, so beautiful and so terrifying all at once. I took my little brother’s hand and moved us back a step or two toward Daddy. We’d be safer a little closer to him than to the muddy beast that howled and trembled where my serene brook had once lived.
As a teenager, water plunged me into my first recognition of the Holy Spirit. The tug at my heart was palpable at the Lake Junaluska Southeastern Jurisdiction Youth Camp. We had just completed a particularly moving worship filled with singing and praying. The thunder of the outside storm rumbled in our chests and provided dramatic sound effects as tears quietly spilled onto our cheeks through the testimonies. Although this had been a wet and muddy camping week, we emerged from our afternoon session at Shackford Hall to be greeted by a spectacular double rainbow over the mountain. The reflection in the lake created a perfect double circle, and the cross at Inspiration Point marked the rings’ center. It was as if the water of the lake, the storms, and the tears blended to craft an unmistakable backdrop for the gift of Jesus himself. Our hike back to soggy tents was through puddles and mud, but the promise of that rainbow had been sent to me personally and my heart felt sheltered and protected.
“But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3, NRSV) God’s promises aren’t always engulfed in water, but we are immersed in their securities and drenched by their life-giving abundance. In the dry spaces of my life, when I feel parched and unable to continue, I am firm in my dependence on the Living Water of Jesus. Just as I can depend on the rain returning, even after a long drought, I am able to rely on the assurances of our Savior where I remain safe and secure.
Drenched in Love,