Sometimes I wish I lived by the ocean. If I lived by the ocean, I think my analogies would be about the ocean. I live in Missouri. I practically live in a cornfield – as in, in the middle of summer our community is surrounded on every side by corn (sometimes soybeans). My pastors use a lot of corn analogies.
This week the Sunday School lesson was on one of my favorite parables about the seed falling on different kinds of soil. Ever feel dry spiritually? In this analogy, you’ll see the benefit of a dry season.
After corn is planted and begins to grow, farmers hope for rain because rain is essential. The farmer also hopes he doesn’t get too much rain. Too much rain too often and the roots of the corn stalk have no reason to go deeper into the ground in search of moisture. The roots spread out instead of down and stay close to the surface. When the seasonal rainfall is spread out a little, the roots of the corn go deeper.
Root depth is important because in the middle of the summer around here it gets hot. Really hot. And dry. Corn that was spoiled all spring long with frequent rain will have shallow roots. Shallow roots aren’t able to reach the moisture that is further underground. On the other hand, a corn stalk that has experienced dry weather will have roots that are already plunging the depths of the moisture-rich underground. That plant is stronger and will survive longer in a drought season.
I think I’ve often misunderstood this concept of spiritual dryness. I tended to see it as a a sign of weakness or failure on my part. I never stopped to think that God might actually be exercising his right to quiet so that I would start shooting roots down into the deeper parts of my soil, weaning me from my dependence on emotional highs and rain soaked spiritual encounters.
It has been a rainy spring here. The farmers want the rain to stop. If it doesn’t dry out for awhile now, our crops have no chance of surviving the true droughts of July and August.