I thought I knew about rain. Then I moved to the south.
I’ve lived in California rain – (rare, big droplets then cool air after) – and also England rain (mostly misty mist). In the south though, the rain is hard, fast and sporadic. Loud thunder. Crazy lightning. Then when it’s done, it’s just humid. Really humid. There are a lot of different kinds of rain but no matter what rain I am in, I know its needed. I know the grass and the flowers need the water so it can grow. Animals need rain to live. I know the lakes need rain so they don’t dry up. Farmers and ranchers need rain so they can provide for their families. Everywhere you look, the land NEEDS to rain so it can grow; so it can be reborn.
As I sit here, waiting in Atlanta airport because of one of the many cancelled flights today due to weather back in Texas, I am thinking about rain in a different way. Today it was absolutely GORGEOUS here, so green and vibrant. Even the pollen wasn’t bad like it usually is in Georgia this time of year. Hard to believe that when I got here the other day it was pouring rain and pretty gross out. Yet it wouldn’t be this beautiful if it didn’t have rain.
We need rain to appreciate the sunshine.
If it was sunny all the time, we would get used to it and it wouldn’t be as special. When I lived in LA, most of the time it would be sunny and in the seventies. When it would jump to eighty degrees, I would barely notice. I’d sit inside, in the air conditioning, and not really think twice about it. Nice became normal and it wasn’t till I moved away and came back that I really appreciated such gorgeous weather. I wasn’t suffocated by humidity! Nor did I need a jacket! I couldn’t get enough time outside because I knew it wouldn’t last forever.
That is like our lives a lot. I hate to say it- and trust me, I could do without this – but we need the bad times to appreciate the good ones. Just like storms can change the landscape around us, they can also change US. We don’t know how we handle pressure until we are pressured. We don’t know how we respond to fear unless we are afraid. And you know what? EVERYONE faces storms throughout their whole lives and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will understand how much you need God to help you get through them.
I have had some horrible experiences in the last few years; when I said, “I thought I knew about rain; then I moved to the south,” I meant that literally but also figuratively. I have gone through hurt and betrayal and confusion like I had never experienced until I moved to Texas. There were times I didn’t know what I was doing or why God had me in this place. I wondered what I had done wrong to deserve this and for awhile became kind of bitter and untrusting toward those around me. This storm lasted a lot longer than it should have because I refused to get out of it.
You see, sometimes storms need to run their course. The damage NEEDS to be done so the clean up can begin. It wasn’t until I admitted the storm was happening around me and instead of just praying that it would end, I needed to trust God that He would take care of me no matter how it ended. I forgot that God promises us that He will be a “refuge from the wind and a shelter from the storm” (Isaiah 32:2). It doesn’t say God will stop the storms from happening; it says He will protect us; He will be there with us while we go through them.
April showers bring May flowers. No storm is ever the same as another and in turn, they all have a different result. Tough times bring growth and transformation. God will not give us what we can’t handle and when we are the most stressed, the most vulnerable, the most scared- God says in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I hope that whatever storm you are in right now, you have your hope anchored in God’s love and protection for you. If you are not in a storm right now, I hope you are thankful for the sunshine around you, because a storm may be coming and you need to hold on to that light when you encounter the darkness.
Journal Journey: Think about a storm in your past. A betrayal by a friend? A health issue? A fight with a parent? Write as much or as little about how you felt at the time. How did it end? What did you learn from it? Examining our past battles will give you hope for the future. If you remember what you have gone through, you can remind yourself how strong you were and THAT will encourage you in the future!
Scripture: Read about how Jesus calmed the storm in Mark 4:35-41