We travel home in an air conditioned bubble. The whole length of the Shenandoah valley is crispy brown, the corn stunted. We pull into our Amish county driveway, greener here but the grass is short and the air hot. We breathe shallow breaths, unpack, crank the air conditioning. No rain in the forecast, three weeks and counting.
Saturday there will be a wedding, an outdoor wedding, and finally rain threatens. Stuart is on the phone with the bride. "Pray that the rain holds off," she says. Saturday we wake to dark skies, the parched earth slurps the drops. All day the rain falls, a slow, steady farmer's rain. It's beautiful, refreshing. The ground takes all she is given; no puddles remain.
No prayers for weather issue forth here, instead I rejoice, "God, you are good! What perfect timing!" for this is a marriage that needs rain, a second-chance marriage. Two who found each other across cultures and borders. Dry and thirsty lives. So many lives. She has children, six of them, and he is willing to bear the burden.
They stand at the altar and worship, her hands raised; both marvel at God's goodness.
And it rains. Inside and out, mercy rains.
If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. Leviticus 26: 3&4