Dear friend, drought is hard. 

It’s a word we rarely use if we’re not in agriculture or into the 6 o’clock news.

Nonetheless, it’s real.

Chances are you’ve lived through it.

Maybe you’re enduring it now.

A seemingly never-ending season of scarcity, uncertainty, and bleakness.

A forlorn time fueled by doubt, recrimination, and fear.

Anxious moments that stretch out to the horizon and test our faith.

Hear these truths now.

You are not alone.

You are held.

There is hope.

And it is pure, unadulterated, and unstoppable.

Also, I get to say this because I know the ordeal. 

Dejection and despair are familiar to me.

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Does that surprise you? 

Because I have so much going for me. 

All the things, in fact. 

People who love me and people to love and a job and my health and a home.

But, if I’m honest, that’s probably at the root of why I write.

It’s how I’ve learned to cope. 

And looking at a lifetime’s stack of journals, I’ve done a lot of coping.

Probably, like you, I have a lot of things for which to be thankful, and yet my drought was real. 

Because drought is a naturally occurring human phenomenon, just like it is in nature.

You see, I think about drought a lot and also its oppositeabundance.

And I try to make it all make sense to me in the context of an all-knowing and all-loving God and, well, real life.

There are ancient stories in my faith tradition about prophets intervening with God on behalf of a fickle and faulty people. 

We call it the Old Testament. 

And the overarching story of the Old Testament about God seeking to reconcile humanity to Him kind of gets lost in all the children’s book stories about Noah’s ark and David and Goliath.

But one of my very stories is about a prophet called Habakkuk. Honestly, it’s a whole book in the Bible, which frankly requires degrees in history and dead languages or a whole lot of sustained study to read.

It’s just a few pages long and squished between Moses and the pharaoh and let my people go and David and his fear-no-evil Psalms and the gospels where baby Jesus is born and turns water into wine, subverts civic-religion, is executed for that reason by crucifixion, the capital punishment of the Roman Empire era, and, uncomprehendingly to adherents of the faith worldwide, resurrects as the next to final act to reconcile all of us fickle and faulty people across all time and all traditions to God.

Anyway, Habakkuk just kind of speaks to me because, in the middle of a bunch of nonsense and war and metaphorical and historical drought, he says something as profound as it is poetic.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17, NSV).

It is just one tiny snapshot of faith prayed on some dusty patch of earth in some conflict nearly lost to time that surely cost real people their very lives.

But for me, it is a link in the unbreakable chain of the faithfulness of a God present in drought and in abundance across the millennia.

And I keep going back to this.

Because when our livelihoods feel threatened and our plans spectacularly fall apart, God is still in the business of being present. 

Because when our relationships feel strained and we are consumed with surviving, God is still in the business of reconciling.

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Because when our souls feel barren and our spirit cries out, be it in faith or faithlessness, God is still in the business of being God.

Friend, the drought is real, but so is the presence of God who meets you on your dusty patch of earth.

You are not alone.

You are held.

There is hope.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Whitney Westbrook

Whitney Westbrook writes about navigating midlife, mostly with grace. Because midlife is relentless and irreverent, and because we should all talk about it out loud more. Follow her for more misadventures and insights on all things midlife at So Very Whitney