During the eight years we lived in Pierre, SD, one of the things that captivated us about the area was the beauty of the Missouri River. Whenever we drove back to Pierre from visiting family in Minnesota, we were excited when the long, flat, five-hour drive was finally interrupted by beautiful rolling hills and the majestic Missouri River.
When we moved there in 2004, Lake Oahe, the Missouri River reservoir above the Oahe Dam just north of Pierre, was at a record-low level. But by June 2011, the summer before we moved back to Minnesota, the reservoir had surged to record-high levels, prompting flooding in Pierre.
For me, this will always be a deeply personal picture of the work God did in my life during our time in Pierre. When we moved there, I was experiencing a record drought in my life spiritually. But not because my life was bad or difficult. It was actually really good. I had just graduated college. I was just hired by a great organization where I’d actually use my degree (a big accomplishment for someone with a history degree). I was happily married to my amazing wife. And we had just bought our first house. In my mind, life was good.
But as Paul Tripp says, I was blind to my blindness. I had no idea the spiritual drought I was experiencing. I was addicted to myself. I was good just living for me. As C.S. Lewis describes in Weight of Glory, I was “like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.” I was far too easily pleased, unaware that God had a far greater pleasure awaiting me in knowing him.
But Christ changed all that. He gave me eyes to see that there’s a far greater kingdom to seek than my own. He unveiled the depth of my sin. He revealed my need for his saving work on the cross. All by grace.
He took me from drought to flood.
Sometimes we feel the pain of drought in our lives. We feel it relationally. We feel it emotionally. We feel it spiritually. We know something is missing. We know something is incomplete. We know something is not right. We thirst for something more.
But like me, sometimes we are blinded to our drought. The riches, comforts, and pleasures of this life deceive us into being ok with an empty reservoir. We thirst without knowing it.
Jesus said in John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” So whether for the first time or for the first time today, believe and praise Jesus. He came to flood every drought.