You, Lord, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.–Psalm 85:1-3
“Summer lasted a generation and then the winter wind;
A bounty harvest, it seemed so endless, ‘til it gave what it could give.
Prosperity will have its season,
But even when it’s here, it’s going by,
And when it’s gone, we pretend we know the reason,
But all the roots grow deeper when it’s dry.”
The Korahites, a guild of musicians and composers, would have recognized the themes in Wilcox’s song: grief and loss, praying for a return of the good days, trying to make sense of the changes. The Korahites’ own composition gives voice to the people’s longing for restoration as they struggle through a dry season.
The composers use a helpful coping mechanism for any dry season by recalling other times when God forgave the people and withdrew anger at their faithlessness (v. 1-3). The Korahites ask for a replay of that past, for God to forgive them and restore them once again. In the asking lies a trust in God’s faithfulness, in the history between God and the people—a history in which God has never failed them.
In reminding themselves, and God, of their shared history, the people are able to claim hope for the day when “steadfast love and faithfulness will meet, righteousness and peace will kiss each other” (v. 10). The dry season will not be the last word. It never has been and will not be now.
I’m planning to earmark Psalm 85 for my next dry season, because it’s sure to come. I want to be prepared with a coping mechanism from our ancient ancestors in the faith: when the dryness starts, remember. Remember all the times God has heard and responded, made a way in the wilderness and sent the rain right on time. Remember.
In the dry season our roots grow deeper.