Friday, June 21, 2019

Reasons to Dance in the Rain

Dear Friends,

As I watch a gentle rain dimple our deck, I am reminded of my childhood. Rain on a tin porch roof outside my bedroom window lulled me to sleep. A cedar tree dropped orange blossoms onto that roof when it rained. And there was something special about sitting on the porch of our farmhouse, watching raindrops splash on a large flat stone that served as a porch step.

Rain. Precious drinking water. So necessary for flowers and vegetables. Badly needed for fields of wheat, corn and soybeans. Rain is essential to life on earth.

Yet we dislike rainy days. We want sunshine and brightness, cloudless days filled with love and laughter. But just as rainy days are essential to the good earth, so rainy days in our lives are essential to the growth of our character and our faith.

It’s easy to trust God when the sun is shining, when our kids are making good grades and minding their curfews. It’s harder to trust God on the rainy days, when our kids fail English and find friends of questionable morals.

It’s easy to trust God when we feel good. It’s harder to trust God when we’re wrecked with pain or disease, when we’re saddled with a job we dislike, when difficult people make life difficult.

But maybe God has allowed circumstances in our lives for a season and for a reason. Maybe He wants us to trust Him to make us better people through our experiences as we learn to turn the other cheek. If we’ve prayed for patience, maybe this is His way of stretching us.

Maybe He’s even using a difficult person to lead us to a greener pasture. After all, haven’t you ever found peace and contentment after you’ve moved away from a toxic relationship?

Rainy days draw us to God to ask what He’s trying to tell us, to teach us through whatever experience he brings our way. We search His Word. We talk to His people. We pray. We ponder. All that is good. After all, we don’t want to draw rash conclusions. We learn to trust that after the rain comes the rainbow.

God told the people of Israel, “I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit” (Leviticus 26:7). I’ve read the Israelites thanked God for the rain because they knew their cattle could graze in green pastures. We would also do well to appreciate the rain in our lives, the challenges, the inconveniences, the uncomfortable circumstances because of the promise they hold.

I recently came across a quote by John Ortburg that I find true: “God isn’t at work producing the circumstances I want. God is at work in bad circumstances to produce the me he wants.” 

So enjoy or at least be patient on rainy days. Take time to watch the raindrops patter on the patio, to muse, to think, to pray. And then confidently get on with life, renewed by God’s Spirit, encouraged by His Presence and sustained by His love for you, for those you love . . . and even for those difficult people. After all, he loves them too.

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