Dried LakeYears ago, I lived in the panhandle of Oklahoma.  You don’t have to be there long before you realize it’s a “whole ‘nother country.”  In fact, residents of the panhandle often spoke of the rest of the state as “down-state”…and it wasn’t meant to be a compliment.

Not far from where I lived was a man-made lake called “Optima Lake.”  It was several thousands of acres and had a dam at one end.  The short history of Optima Lake was that it was approved and funded with millions of dollars from the state and federal government in the early 1930s.  But it wasn’t completed until 30+ years later.  It was a project of the Corp of Engineers and its purpose was flood control.  At the time of its funding, it was said the lake would spare western Oklahoma farmers and ranchers the annual havoc and destruction of two stream that would overflow their banks during rainy seasons.  The idea was to channel those two rampant streams into a lake – Optima Lake.

But a problem was encountered.  Between the time it was first planned and funded and the time it was actually built, things changed dramatically.  The flooding streams stopped flooding.  In fact, they dried up!  Few people in the communities around the Lake could remember the last time the streams actually had any water in them, let alone flowing or raging waters.  One man I knew even told me one the river had not had any water flowing through it in almost 40 years. 

So, now there is a $50 million dam, but no lake – only a small puddle of water about 6 inches deep around the dam.  There are boat ramps, picnic areas, playgrounds and all the niceties of a public lake.  Just no water!  You can actually drive your vehicle across Optima Lake (pictured above) and never get it wet.  Optima Lake was officially closed in 2010.

Can you imagine the disappointment felt by the people of the panhandle who looked forward to water sports on a great lake, summer days of family fun but wound up with only a muddy puddle? 

We have all experienced something like that, in one way or another.  Best laid plans go astray.  Dreams fail to materialize.  People let us down.  High hopes become just little puddles.

It would break us, if we didn’t have our faith to draw on.