After you have lived in the region for a while, you will begin to understand why rain is so revered. It is unusual to receive rain; it is rare to get a measurable amount. I am always in awe when it rains. The weather statistics for our southwest corner of South Dakota shows our average precipitation for the year is less than 13 inches. That includes snow and even those little dabs of one-tenth of an inch of rain. Yes, we talk about such small amounts. We always hope the little drips will “prime the pump” and produce additional moisture.
One man who moved here many years ago from Indiana, got it. Reverend Gary Warren wrote this as his pastor’s comments in the church newsletter while he was the pastor of the United Churches in Hot Springs, S.D. Here was his message:
One of the benefits of being a pastor living in western South Dakota is the unity of spirit that exists concerning the weather. When I lived in areas where precipitation was greater, it was not uncommon to have conflicting prayer requests. A farmer might ask that we pray for rain for the crops, while someone else, on the same day, wanted God to provide sunshine for the long-planned family reunion. To the farmer, family reunions were unimportant compared to the investment he had in his crops. To the planner of the family reunion, rain could do just as much good some other day. I have never heard such conflicting requests since moving to South Dakota. We just want moisture and are happy whenever it comes.
In Indiana, if you are having a picnic and it rains, you go inside. Here, in western South Dakota, you just go on having a picnic. In Indiana, if it starts raining, you roll your window up. Here, you roll your window down. In Indiana, it’s a nice day if the sun is shining. Here, it’s just a nice day. In Indiana, rivers can only be crossed by boats and bridges. Here, if you get to the other side and your feet are wet, it’s a river.
In Indiana, God owes every farmer at least 1 inch of rain per week in the summer and if it doesn’t rain by Thursday, he turns the irrigation on. Here, rain is a gift from God, and you turn the irrigation on if it doesn’t rain by June.
In Indiana, there are lakes for bass, crappies, and water skiers. Here, lakes are where you keep the gift of God.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongues fail for thirst, I the Lord, will hear them. I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land, springs of water.”
Hardly anyone in Indiana knows what that means. Here, we know that is the promise of God.
Yes, Pastor Warren got it.
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