Dancing in the Rain

“[God] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

-MATTHEW 5:45 (NIV)

 

WE’VE ALL HEARD THE SAYING, “When it rains it pours.”  It is the slogan for Morton salt, and the slogan seems to be proving itself accurate in our neck of the woods.  David Wright wrote the following in our local Press Gazette newspaper just this past Sunday of our little city, Hillsboro.

“Rainfall in the Hillsboro area so far this year is just a few slots shy of breaking a 120-year record, a meteorologist said, and further showers in coming days will likely complicate planting for local farmers already late putting their crops in the ground.”

 

Wednesday of this week, my friend Stan, who lives in the Columbus, Ohio area, had to abandon his car when it stalled out in water that was pooling on the road. The water was rising rapidly (to a level above the bottom of the doors) in a storm with severe flood warnings.  Roads were being closed and no one could get to him.  He ended up leaving his car behind and walking out 1.5 miles in water, in many places above his knees.

 

Enough is enough already, don’t you think?

 

This phenomenon also appears to be quite true in more areas of life and experience than the weather.  It seems to be true in all of life—personal, political, cultural, spiritual.  Trouble, hardship and unwanted circumstances confront us all at varying times and seasons.  For many it seems that these challenges come in raging storms, and that the storms line up on the forecast of our lives for what seems to be an unforeseeable distance, much like the rain we have been experiencing over the last month.

 

In times like these it is easy to be overwhelmed and discouraged.  It is easy to lose heart and confidence.  I think of families in our congregation and friends of our community that have suffered one hardship or challenge after another.  Many have been enduring the storms of life for months, some for years.  Will it ever end, you may wonder?

 

But take heart, the sun will shine again, and with the sun comes the rainbow and with the the rainbow the reminder of God’s faithfulness.  That faithfulness presents itself to us in one undeserved blessing after another.  Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 13:33).  He also reminded us that the sun and the rain are both gifts from God (Matthew 5:45).  Consider this: life is not possible without water—without rain.  Plants won’t grow without it.  Our bodies cannot survive without it.  Rain is God’s gift.  I guess I’m saying I’d rather have rain than no rain.

 

I believe that this is true for us spiritually as well.  Though the storms of life at times seem impossible to bear, God uses them to shape us.  Even those floods that bring devastation leave amazing beauty in their wakes over time.  The Grand Canyon is just one such example.

 

In no way am I trying to be glib or dismissive about anyone’s hardship or trial.  I have not walked in your shoes and certainly don’t know the severity of your storms, nor do you know the intensity of mine.  What I do know is that God is at work in our storms, regardless of how dark, violent, or severe they may be.  Maybe we need to adopt the perspective of Joan Marques, who said, “When it rains it pours.  Maybe the art of life is to convert tough times to great experiences.  We can choose to hate the rain or dance in it.”

 

On one occasion Jesus sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee knowing He was sending them into the heart of a violent storm.  He went with them and, of all things, was asleep in the back of the boat!  I wonder if it was a peaceful sleep, like being rocked in the cradle on the sea He had made?  He was certainly unconcerned.

 

You and I are like the disciples.  The storms come and beat us around, rather violently at times.  We think the storm might even swamp us and do us in.  But we need to remember that Jesus is in the boat with us and we need not fear. 

 

The disciples eventually learned this.  Even when they were in storms and confrontations with the ruling powers of government and religion, their bodies beaten, their lives hanging by a thread, and all of them but one eventually martyred, they considered themselves blessed and privileged to be called to endure their storm for the cause of Christ.  I imagine, as they recalled the storms they faced with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee in their later years, rather than remembering them as evenings of horror, they had become cherished memories, great experiences of intimacy with Christ.
 
 

I pray that you and I may grow to be as courageous, as undaunted, and as joyful as they in the storms God allows us to endure; that  our storms will become great experiences as we learn to dance in the rain, beholding the majesty, the power, the provision and the love of God.

 

The sun is going to come out tomorrow.  Well . . . maybe Friday.  I read it on the Internet at www.accuweather.com.  It has to be accurate, right?  Anyone Want to Dance?