Bring the Rain

by Alece Ronzino on August 16, 2013

Alece Ronzino Bring the Rain

Africa has the greatest storms. The rainy season finally comes after months of drought, and by the time the first drop falls, the earth is cracked and parched. Lakes and ponds have all but dried up. The tall savannah grass is brown and brittle.

The earth is thirsty. Ready. Waiting.

And then, out of nowhere one day, the storm clouds roll in.

The blackened sky sobs heavy tears. You can feel the thunder deep in your bones as it echoes through the plains. The lightning makes you jump and paralyzes you with awe all in the same loud, bright instant. The wind reminds you that only God could tie the trees down tightly enough.

Africa’s storms are altogether wonderful.

And altogether terrible.

Water rushes into homes, through the cracks in mud hut walls and the gaps in old thatch roofs and the seams in tin shack ceilings. Gusts of wind blow right through bedrooms and marble-sized hail destroys gardens. Those with only their feet for transportation run for any cover they can find — the bus stop, the liquor store, the first home they can reach in the village.

The storms are harsh. And unrelenting. And inconvenient.

And yet, they are welcomed.

There is a joy about the rainy season. “We need it,” is what you’ll hear.

Africans find it easy to say. Easy to see. Easy to recognize and acknowledge that as challenging as the storm may be, good will come of it. It is, after all, an answer to countless prayers for the sun-scorched ground.

They know that the thirst can’t be quenched without the storm.

Spring can’t come without the rain.

New life can’t bud deep beneath the surface of the dry, crusty ground until the heavens unleash their fury.

The drought doesn’t end until the storms start.

We need them.

I need them.

I need the storms in my life. Not as punishment or discipline or as some cruel cosmic joke that leaves God chuckling to Himself. I need them because of what’s waiting on the other side that I can’t see yet.

I need them because sometimes my heart grows cracked and dry, forgetting what it feels like to be filled to overflowing.

I need them because when everything in my life has turned the bare, barren brown of winter, I’m desperate for the life-awakening green of spring.

I need the storms. Even when I hate them.

Bring the rain.

What storm — large or small — are you facing right now?

How can you choose joy in the downpour?

 {Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kigaliwire/4403135333/}

Alece HeadshotAlece Ronzino – After pioneering and leading a nonprofit in South Africa for 13 years, Alece now lives in Nashville, TN. She is a Nonprofit Communications & Development Strategist, a freelance copywriter/editor, and the founder of One Word 365. She blogs occasionally but candidly about searching for God in the question marks of life and faith. Follow Alece on Twitter and visit her blog, Grit and Glory.

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About Alece Ronzino

After pioneering and leading a nonprofit in South Africa for 13 years, Alece now lives in Nashville, TN. She is a Nonprofit Communications & Development Strategist and the founder of OneWord365. She blogs (occasionally, but candidly) about searching for God in the question marks of life and faith. Connect with Alece on Twitter, Instagram, and her blog, Grit and Glory.
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  • Rachel ‘Pieh’ Jones

    Yes, you’ve captured storms in Djibouti so well. In fact there is a rare one thundering right now as I write. Thanks for your beautiful words.

    • I miss those storms so much, Rachel… Soak this one up for me…

  • Alece! This is so beautiful – you paint an exquisite picture for those of us who’ve never known an African rain. And so true.

    A few years ago, I found myself sitting on the front steps the morning after a particularly brutal thunderstorm. Our yard was littered with branches, large and small, leaves scattered everywhere. I remembered how, the day before, nothing had seemed amiss to me about the cottonwoods around our house. But the storm exposed their hidden weakness and tore them open so new growth, stronger growth, would emerge. It’s a lesson that’s stayed with me.

    • “The storm exposed their hidden weakness….” Such beautiful truth in that statement. Thank you, Kelly!

  • Mark Allman

    “The storms are harsh. And unrelenting. And inconvenient.

    And yet, they are welcomed.”

    We struggle to have this attitude about the storms of life even when we know they maybe good for us. We need to relish whatever part of the journey we are on….. be it a smooth path or one that is difficult. For when we have navigated the difficult then their is rejoicing in our soul that the smooth path never provides.

    • So so true, Mark. I always appreciate your perspective…

  • Love.

  • Grace

    This bit grabbed me… “The blackened sky sobs heavy tears. You can feel the thunder deep in
    your bones as it echoes through the plains. The lightning makes you jump
    and paralyzes you with awe all in the same loud, bright instant. The
    wind reminds you that only God could tie the trees down tightly enough.”

    You have an extraordinary gift of writing! Please keep using it so we all benefit. Thank you!

  • Melissa Irwin

    Harvest requires rain. Love.

  • The storm I face looks like a tornado. For three years a family served, faithful and true, alongside us. At the close of their commitment, now, the cyclone winds will be sucking them up from here and dropping them on the coast of the Dominican Republic. Here they cared for orphans and led Bolivian youth well. Now they go into the thick of the fight against the trafficking of humans. While I know this is a good step for them, doing life will be very different without them.

    The joy in the whipping winds of change? The whisper voice whistling well done. Well done to them. Well done to us. I am grateful.

    • Oh that revolving door of life on the mission field (and in ministry, in general). My heart aches for the goodbye that is looming close for you. Even when you know it is right and good, the goodbyes don’t get any easier… Praying for you through this tornado…

  • Richelle Wright

    choosing joy in the downpour doesn’t seem to be our default, that’s for sure. it has to be an intentional decision made and then one we stick with. lately, i’ve been listening to the song by laura story, blessings: “Cause what if your blessings come through rain dropsWhat if Your healing comes through tears – What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near – What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life – Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy – What if trials of this life – The rain, the storms, the hardest nights – Are your mercies in disguise.”

    we too love the african storms… the winds, the dust, the dark and then the rain which clears the dust and cleans the air. i never knew you could smell a storm until we moved to africa. and we miss them when we aren’t there. one of my most favorite sounds is rain pounding on a tin roof – and listening, sometimes i think we’ve had a little taste of what noah heard.

    thanks for this word today, alece.

    • You are so right, Richelle. Choosing joy is almost counterintuitive. It’s most definitely counter-cultural. And it takes conscious choice and effort, a moment by moment intentionality.

      And yes! I miss the way you can smell the storm coming in Africa, and the deafening sound of the downpour hitting my tin roof…

  • yes, Alece … our seasons change, sometimes violently, sometimes in the smoothest of transitions. but the storms will continue to come. and we get to choose how we will respond when we’re swept up in their powerful waves.

    • And that is ALL we can control — our response to what happens to us…

      Thank you for adding your voice to this conversation, Linda.

  • Loved this post and loved the way you wrote it. Such a powerful image and one that feels so true to life . . . we long for something and then when it comes, it’s overwhelming and not what we expected.

    Beautiful analogy. Thanks, Alece, for writing here. I so value your words and your experience and just . . . . you.

  • Little Gumnut

    amen to that! Although I’ll have to remind myself of that mid-storm!!

    • Yes! That’s when it’s hardest to remember…. ::sigh::

  • pastordt

    Beautiful, Alece. Just beautiful. And I do remember those storms. We were on high savannah rather than the more arid lower ground, so we never got quite as dry. . . or quite as wet. But those storms were still welcome and necessary. And sometimes terrible and hard, too. Well done.

  • Amy Schultz

    So true. So beautiful. I love reading your work, relating to your story and your new outlook!

  • I love this. The images, the reality, the metaphors, the reflection of life.

  • And I’ve been wanting to contact you … so look for an email 🙂

  • Robert and Jenn McDuffie

    This article speaks deeply to my soul today. I wept as I read the words because my husband and I are in the midst of the darkest “storm” of our life. This “storm” has exposed so many rotten areas in my life and I have had to spend a lot of time in prayer, repenting of all my evil thoughts and letting go of all the things I can’t control. So, thank you for the reminder that the flowers only bloom after the rain! I’m expecting a field of flowers after this “storm”!

    • So appreciate your raw and real heart here… Praying with you for that field of flowers!

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  • Jordon Trombley Geiger

    Yes. Yes. Yes. 2013 has been a long drenching storm for us. Praise God. He is bringing new life!

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