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Brown Is The New Green

There was the quietest, most gentle sound that grabbed my attention today.


It probably didn’t last more than two minutes, but that refreshment from heaven made me smile like a five-year-old in a candy store.

We are experiencing drought conditions in Northern California.  I think I can count on one hand the number of times it has rained since we moved here a year ago.  We’ve all been asked to cut back on our water  consumption by 25%, and our yards are testimony to the fact that we’ve complied.

The grass in our back yard more resembles hay than lawn, a far cry from the luscious green carpet it was just a few short months ago.

It’s killing me.

A sign in a neighbor’s yard reads, “Brown is the new green”.

If you know me you know I love green.  Green grass, green trees and plants.

Green signifies vital life.  Growth.  Thriving.

And green is no longer the first thing I see when I look out from my back porch.  Just a parched patch of land crying for more hydration.

They tell me the rains will come.  Nor for a while, but they will come.  I need to be patient and trust that it will happen, regardless of what I can see.   I need to not panic and take matters into my own hands by watering profusely (and ultimately paying the enormous fine that will accompany that kind of water usage).  I need to believe that “this, too, will pass”.

But as I walk barefoot across my nearly crunchy grass, my toes remind me that this is not how I want things to be.  I want green and I want it now!  Nothing inside me wants to wait and trust that this stubble of lawn will soon be a hazy memory when I once again look out onto a beautiful green lawn later this year.

How often am I like that in life?  Wanting to rush through the rough spots, the dry and parched times, and skip to the green?  How many times have I wanted to fix things my own way and not wait for God’ perfect timing and refreshment?

I just read that grass is able to come back after drought if the roots were well established before.  The grass with shallow, less mature roots will probably not make it through this rough patch.

How are my roots?  Am I fully grounded in that deeper soil that is more protected from the sun’s powerful rays?  When difficulty comes, am I so connected to Jesus that I can trust that I will come out stronger, “greener”, after the drought is over?  Is my first instinct to rest in those deep places, “beneath the soil”, as I wait for the refreshment of rain, a change of circumstances?

Sometimes there are things that NEED to die in my life.  Bad habits. Wrong motives.  Crappy attitudes.  Dysfunctional thinking. Often it’s a drought circumstance that has the power to kill these things off because they become more obvious.  Once those things diminish, new life comes back better than ever.

Jesus talked about the importance of something dying to produce more life in reference to his approaching death on the cross. John 12:24 – “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.”  This same principle applies to us.  There is a new kind of growth that comes out of “death” and it ends up creating new life not only in us but in those around us.

Drought has a way of exposing our true character.  It reveals where our roots are.  There are still a few blades of green out in my lawn.  They stand out against the rest of the brown.  Apparently, they are well rooted and were prepared for the drought.  While I couldn’t notice them before when everything was well watered and green, now they look like strong little soldiers ready for the fight.

Drought doesn’t make a person.  It reveals a person.  It can kill us off or cause us to look at our roots and go deeper.

Eventually, the rains will come.  Refreshment from heaven will break through and our thirsty souls will have the chance to once again soak and savor the blessing of relief.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll appreciate each drop, be it a torrential downpour or a two-minute sprinkle, just a little bit more, knowing that even the drought had its reasons.

And we’ll have the opportunity to share that new life and the comeback from a drought with others who are thirsty.  Life perpetuating life.

So maybe brown really IS the new green, or at least green in the making….

Romans 5:3-5 – Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s lovehas been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

James 1:2-4 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.



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