“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
You are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you…
Fear not, for I am with you.” Isaiah 43:1-5
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
The rain pounds its little fists on the metal roof this morning, threatening to give the day a headache. Driven and relentless it knocks, but I will not give in to its menace. The ground needs its nourishment, so I choose to welcome the gift and dismiss the brooding intimidation. The storm will lift, it always lifts, and I welcome the soak it’s left behind.
When life storms grumble, we can receive their goodness without bending under the clouds. They force disruption in our peace, noise in our quiet, and damp on our careful plans, but they also cause us to pause, to wonder at their sound, and to be refreshed by their wet bounty. For our hopeless or hardened hearts, storms can permeate the impossible and soften the fixated will. They can wash fresh a perspective crusty with resentment, blank with despair, or narrow with self-will. They bring new beginnings of energy, resolve, and outlook that propel us to new heights of thought, new depths of possibility.
Why are we so repelled by rainstorms? What causes our retreat from them altogether? Do we bemoan the wet strands of conflict as annoying or interruptive, or mucky difficulties as weighty burdens that impede our progress? Or would we relish the heaven-sent liquid, and look to learn how to handle such circumstances with alacrity, grace, and fortitude? Do we quickly poke out our self-righteous umbrellas to avoid inconveniences, or see coming showers as opportunities to exercise our faith to new limits? Would we receive the good provisions of rain but shake off the shroud of cloud?
“Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth;
shelters thee under his wings, ye so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen all how thy desires e’er have been
granted in what He ordaineth?” ~Joachim Neander (1680)
Lord of life, bring on Your rain and let it have its way. Turn me from brooding in the cloud to looking beyond and above to heaven’s blue, from where You reign in omniscience, grace, and goodness.