Today, a young couple struggles to make ends meet. Today there is rejoicing for a child born; the parents grateful for this life because their second died hours after delivery. Today, a couple wonders if their marriage will make it. Today, a young woman weeps because her family does not understand her faith and rejects her. Today, a student is wondering where he should go to college. Today, a parent is wondering how to pay for college. Today, a woman saved from sin’s snare wonders how she will tell the next man she is no longer available to meet his sexual needs. Today, a once hopeful relationship is over. Today, a married woman considers abortion because she is pregnant from a one-night stand.
Today, the man who has been far from God longs to get back home to where he is loved and encouraged. Today, a marriage is hopeful despite the infidelity of the marriage bed. Today, friends are starting a new chapter of ministry in a large city. Today, a young couple is touring the countryside on their honeymoon. Today, a teenage girl wants accountability for her dating relationships. Today, a teenager would rather not be accountable. Today, a friend who majored in Bible in college has walked away from God and is searching for peace in the pursuit of knowledge apart from Scripture. Today, a 90 year old man prayed to receive Christ after many years of rejecting Him. Today, a pastor preached the funeral of a woman who took her own life. Today, a pastor lost his job because the budget can’t handle his salary.
Today, a family member is caring for a child with the H1N1 flu. Today, I get to spend time with seven high school senior girls and communicate God’s Truth; praying they will listen and obey. Today, a husband whose wife is expecting their first child awaits a call back from a job interview as bus driver; having been fired from his church because the pastor didn’t like him. Today, a single mom is looking for a job; the divorce is final. Today, a friend is beating cancer by a miraculous work of God through medicine and harvesting his own stem cells. Today, he found out his friend with three small children lost his battle with cancer. Today, a father is not sure whether his cancer treatments are working at all. Today, friends are serving Jesus all across our nation and throughout the world. Today, friends who once called on the name of Jesus are walking away from His Truth and living apart from Him.
Today, it rains.
It rains, at least on this side of the clouds. For far above them, there is sunshine, as I noticed recently on a flight to California. While this trip was intended for work, and work was accomplished, the Lord had greater things in mind; at least for me. You see, the stories above are of lives with whom I have some friendship or mutual relationship, and their stories made aware to me within the last three weeks. And as a result, this pensive heart has begun to question, “What must we do when it rains?” These stories represent tragedy and triumph. And still, today, it rains.
As I write this, the rain has been steadily coming down outside of my home since early this morning. I love the rain on most days. Figuratively speaking, however, I dread the “rain” of suffering, persecution, rejection, pain, and a life marked by adversity. I, for one, hate rejection and fear that some people won’t like me. This is rain to me, but I can get over it. However, I struggle most with watching the rain in others’ lives. You see, I want to fix the problem and make it go away. But, even the counselor in me knows that mitigation of pain is not always the best option; for pain is often placed in our lives so that we may depend on the One that allows it. Isn’t it Paul who declared,
". . .There was given me a thorn in my flesh, to torment me. . .I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. For when I am weak, then I am strong. . ." 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
It’s in suffering where we realize our inadequacy; our weakness. And yet our culture tells us to “think positively” or to “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.” Sadly enough, we’ve opted out of relying on Christ. More so, it seems, we have reasoned our way into believing that somehow He is not enough. Don’t get me wrong, there is a balance here. We must be active in our faith, but faith is acting on His Word. Yet, it appears in our conversations that we don’t know His Word. Oh, maybe we can quote it, but when the rain comes, do we live like we believe it? When the sun abounds, do we live like we believe it?
That’s the question I’m asking myself these days. It’s not enough to know His Word if it doesn’t flesh itself out in our daily actions and words. I hear people say, “I want more of Jesus.” I do too. But, the reality of wanting Him more, at least in my life, is not so much knowing more about Him, but rather, believing and acting on what I do know. Part of that is spending time with Him, in His Word, letting it transform what we think and believe; rather than trying to make it fit our idea of what we want it to be. It’s a battle. It doesn’t always fit with what our culture says. 1 Corinthians 10: 3-6, says it clearly. We must let His Truth break the strongholds that keep us in self-defeating patterns. For when we really believe Him, we will live it. It is faith living!
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. “ Hebrews 11:1
He made the rain. He brings the rain. He is Sovereign. Do you believe this? Will you live it? Will you rejoice when it rains? You see, “it’s not about you, and it’s not about now. It’s about God’s glory and forever.” And while Max Lucado is the one who coined that phrase, it’s the Word of God that declares that message. What must we do, then, when it rains?
"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:6-9
In this journey called life, when the rain comes, remember God's promises never fail!
Bring on the Rain!
[Casey is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX and lives in Dallas area where she works as the Dallas/Ft. Worth recruiter for Oklahoma Baptist University of Shawnee, OK. She has a BA in Marketing, a Master of Arts in Christian Education, and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family.]