But have you ever heard of looking for the gold nugget in the midst of your drought? If not, don’t feel bad. Neither had I; at least not until I came across the following tidbit of information from California. It appears that the severe drought on the west coast has given new hope to gold prospectors.
Peter Hecht, in an article written for the Sacramento Bee newspaper and published June 23, 2015, sums the issue up well:
As California's prolonged drought dries up irrigation supplies for agriculture and forces cutbacks in urban water deliveries, it also creates opportunities for prospectors and miners panning, sluicing, chiseling, and diving for gold. In recent years, drought-inspired gold seeking has spiked sales of sluice boxes, gold pans, and metal detectors at Gold County mining stores from Columbia in Tuolumne County to Auburn in Placer County. While the drought, now in its fourth year, has rendered many creeks too dry for panning, new adventures are opening elsewhere as receding waters reveal more treasures.
These days, Albert Fausel, a lifelong gold seeker who owns the historic Placerville Hardware store, is having some of the best experiences of his life. Fausel, 37, sets out to the upper Cosumnes River in southern El Dorado County. Once a great spot for swimming and fishing, the river's weakened flows are revealing sediments with "a lot of gold in 'em." Because of the drought, he says, "it's a sad season for fishing—so why not go out and get some gold?"
At Placerville Hardware, founded in 1852, four years after James Marshall discovered gold in the American River in nearby Coloma, modern prospectors now drop in to show off flecks they're harvesting from other high-country creeks. Some bring in old coins and other historic relics found in drying stream beds.
"I see some beautiful gold coming into the store," Fausel said. "That gets my tourists all excited. You come into the store and somebody's got gold in their pocket. It's amazing."
Are you currently experiencing a personal drought in your life? Has it been a while since you last experienced any refreshing and nourishing rain? Not so much physically, but psychologically, emotionally, relationally, or even spiritually? Could it be that such times are in fact God ordained in our lives? Could it be that such times are perfectly suited to help us rediscover what is really valuable? What really matters?
After the Old Testament prophet Elijah pronounced a drought as God’s judgment on Israel to Ahab, the King of Israel, in I Kings 17, he was immediately directed by God to make his way to the desert. There, he was fed by ravens and watered by a brook at Kerith. But alas, in time, as a result of the very drought he pronounced, the very brook that provided him water also dried up.
It was then that God showed him what really mattered. He was directed to go 75 miles across the desert to Zarephath, and make himself dependent upon a poor, helpless widow for his very sustenance. The point is that God wanted to show him that not only was God all he had; but that God was all he needed.
And that was the golden nugget in the midst of the drought! Indeed, had there been no drought in California, it is likely that there would have not been any new gold finds. And had there been no drought in Israel, it is likely that Elijah would not have learned to depend upon God for his every need.
And why does this matter so? Because it is only by learning to depend upon God for his very existence in the desert in the midst of a drought (in I Kings chapter 17) that Elijah becomes capable of drawing upon God for the awesome strength he would need to defeat 850 false prophets in the ensuing contest at Mount Carmel (in I Kings chapter 18)!
In light of this, all can I say is “Bring on the drought!” For the drought reveals what really matters, what really has worth, what is really worth pursuing. And until we experience this, we will never know the power that God alone can provide!
STORY SOURCE: The relationship between the California drought and gold prospecting has been covered extensively in the news. See for instance:
The Sacramento Bee has several informative articles devoted to the matter. My chief source for this blog post is:
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/niv/1_kings/17.htm and