It’s a mesmerizing blend of sounds and sights that does something profound to the spirit…if we have the sense to stop and see and hear it.
My observation perch on my front porch allows the textures of the surroundings – the sifting through the leaves of the oak tree, the splattering off of the cars, the splashing in the growing river running down the street – to mingle into a veritable symphony. It’s being composed by my Father uniquely for me.
We always get to that, don’t we? Whatever the circumstance we find ourselves in, we so quickly jump to the conclusion that the rain must be because God is happy with us. The sunshine displays His favor for us.
If either goes on for too long, we think it must because He is punishing us…or our ungodly neighbors, or our godless society.
But Jesus said something in His powerful discourse on the new standard of living He was bringing (commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount) that turns that whole self-centered notion on its head. He said, “For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45b)
In that simple statement Jesus is not at all addressing the character of mankind. He points out the reality of the faithfulness of God. God gives rain whether you deserve it or not. God makes the sun shine upon you regardless of your merit (or overwhelming lack thereof).
The biggest travesty of our cherry-picking of that sentence from the text comes from totally missing the point. The paragraph begins with Jesus calling to mind a natural axiom of human behavior – that we should “love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” Jesus goes on to call us to something higher, something totally foreign, something completely other: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
Then He tells us why. He says we should love everyone – even those who hate us and persecute us – “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:45a) If you’re His kid, you should act like your Father. The way we treat people should not be based upon their behavior or character…or sin or holiness or lifestyle or anything else. It’s not about who they are, it’s about who HE is.
The very rain that pours down on me – however righteous or unrighteous I may be – pours down on my neighbors, righteous or un-. Why? Because God’s faithfulness does not depend upon my response or anybody else’s.
So, the raindrops keep falling on my head…just because my Father is faithful.
And, since I’ve already put the song in your ear, sing along with this cutie and see if that doesn’t brighten up your day…