He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. Psalm 147:8
I glanced out the window at the dark clouds and pouring down rain trying to remember why I had picked a spot so far from the door. The big red umbrella that would have covered me and the two kids was tucked safely inside the car… all the way at the back of the parking lot. After a little while the rain let up just a bit, so we decided to make a quick run. (Now when I say we, I really mean me. Neither one of the little people I was dragging along was too happy about said decision.) With two extra sets of tiny legs pumping as fast as they could, both kids pointed out the obvious all the way to the car: it was still raining.
Sloshing through puddles that had appeared in a matter of minutes, Jake lost his flip-flop. In true boy fashion, without skipping a beat, he quickly reached down and plucked it out of the water, placed it under his arm like a football, and continued all the way to the car with one bare foot splashing through the warm rain water. As I buckled seat belts they fired off question after question. The only one I heard since they were both talking over each other was this one.
Why is it raining?
Like I know the scientific answer to everything. One day they’ll figure out how little I know and the questions will stop. I’m not sure if I dread that day or gladly welcome the end to a thousand and two questions every day.
Tossing my purse in the passenger seat, I sighed and said the first thing that came to mind: “God sends the rain, guys.”
Lilly responded, “But, Mom, we got all wet!”
“God is watering the flowers and trees and the grass, Baby,” I explained, hoping we could leave it at that. In the rear view mirror I saw Jake’s furrowed brow and I knew this conversation was far from over.
“I. Don’t. Like. Getting. Wet,” he said in staccato style with an angry look pasted all over his face and arms folded tightly across his chest. And I understood my little man. I got it. I knew exactly where he was coming from because I had been the one with angry words and crossed arms. It was a valid point.
Choosing my words carefully, I said, “Buddy, we always thank God for the rain, OK?”
He seemed semi-satisfied with my answer and soon the subject shifted to what they wanted for lunch. I didn’t think another thing about that conversation until this morning. We left the house to run a couple of errands and as we crossed over the bridge to get on the highway, rain drops started falling on the windshield. Forgetting the conversation we’d just had the day before, I announced, “Here comes the rain!”
Within seconds two sing-song voices chimed simultaneously from the back seat, “Thank you, God, for the rain!”
I couldn’t figure out why tears were streaming out of my eyes, but after fumbling with the windshield wiper and sweeping my own tears away, my vision cleared and I understood. It has taken me so much longer to say those words to God. It has taken years, and even when I somehow got out my thank you, it took much longer to really believe that the storm that interrupted my life was so much more than an inconvenience, that it truly was a gift.
Many storms we face in life last much longer than we would care for and the pelting rain can rearrange our plans and the dark clouds often bring in fear and doubt, threatening to keep us shut up and locked in, but the truth is we need them.
We need the rain and we need the dark clouds and we need the storms.
The rain reminds us that we are not in control of this life.
The dark days magnify our great need for the light.
The storms keep us humble and seeking and anchored in His word.
The thunder and lightning remind us that God is our hiding place, our shelter and refuge.
And the promise of a rainbow is all we need to be able to say, “Thank you, God, for the rain.”
I pray that whatever storm you’re facing, you will be reminded today that God always keeps His promises. I pray that He will give you the courage to stare at the rain that’s clouding your vision and say, “Thank you, God, for the rain.”
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18