Rain: A Fresh Perspective on the Gift it Really Is
It’s now mid May, and in a typical year, most farmers in our region would be winding up their seeding regimes. Most seeds would have germinated on residual soil moisture, and the growth accelerated by autumn rains.
Usually the weary farmers (and their families) would be looking forward to a break after an intense few weeks.
However, this year is different.
At Border Park we’ve had 12mls (half an inch in old terms) since November, and there’s no remaining moisture in our soils. We have worked up less than half our cropping area, and we haven’t planted a seed yet. It’s unlikely we’ll be sowing the feed crops we’d planned, and our cropping program is getting smaller by the week.
We’ve been feeding our cattle and sheep hay for a few months. The pastures and grasses have all dried off meaning the livestock have to be moved very frequently.
It’s not that much different on farms around us.
The air is heavy with uncertainty.
Weather apps are checked numerous times a day, hoping, praying for a break in the season earlier than predicted.
Seeding programs are planned, and re-hashed with each new week without rain.
Livestock market prices and discussions about reducing numbers are frequent topics.
The proverbial belt is tightened, as each expense is scrutinised and weighed.
Wives and partners aren’t immune to the effects of the weather either. They’re quietly looking for ways to bolster their hubby’s moods and support them during this time. Sending a cuppa out to the workshop, or cooking up a favourite stew.
The kids go to weekend sporting events knowing that Dad is doing all he can to be ready for when it does rain, and that now isn’t the time to be asking idle questions.
And yet, amidst this, there is hope.
This country has known many droughts and disasters. These events don’t define us. They strengthen our characters and friendships, as we resolve to keep our chins up.
We are fortunate to live in a land that enjoys peace. Our tables are graced with abundance, and are homes are full of treasures, both in the forms of family and possession.
We have access to fresh water, education, medical help. We have a hope and a future.
So, even though this year is tough, we each are so blessed. Sometimes it takes things being taken away or not happening on time for us to appreciate this.
Recently we mused about how much it would cost us to water our crops this year if we didn’t get rain. (And water piped to us from the Murray River certainly doesn’t come cheaply).
It turns out that our loving Father provides us with rain – free of charge, complete with plant-necessary nitrogen and without having to apply it – each and every year.
At $3 per megalitre and applied at a rate of 250ml (our average rainfall), this glorious ‘gift’ of rain is worth over $18,000,000 just for Border Park alone!!
What amazing provision from an all-powerful God.
Today, let’s remember to be thankful for all that we have. And to offer a word of encouragement to our neighbours, who may need a fresh perspective.