The Rainy Days

It’s raining this morning.

It’s beautiful. It’s soothing.

But it’s isolating and lonely. It’s inconvenient and restricting and… messy.

We all know that rain is necessary and healing for the land. We know that we can’t live without it, that there is a fundamental need that it fulfills.

At least we know that is true for the literal rain. But then there are the rainy days of a deeper, heavier sense. The rainy days of life when loved ones are dangerously ill, when bad news beats on our minds like hurricane gusts, when the instinct to hide or escape or self-medicate presents options we would never consider in brighter days.

Those days stir questions without simple answers and longings that just never seem to be fully met. Continue reading The Rainy Days

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

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…

Time to Dance in the Rain

I spent a few minutes sitting on my front porch this morning (in long pants and sleeves for a change).  I sat and enjoyed my first cup of coffee of the day and just listened to the glorious sound of the rain.  Yes, here in what looked like a barren wasteland, it is raining.  It has sprinkled a very light shower here and there for the last couple of days, but this morning we are receiving a long, slow, soaking rain.

I dare say this morning that one of two things are happening in our area.  Either the local law enforcement are being summoned as numerous folks are causing a disruption by following through on their vow to dance naked in the rain, or there are a lot of grateful folks that have chickened out on their pledge.  Let’s hope it’s the latter.

I realize that some of you may have a problem with the whole idea of dancing – particularly in the sense of praise and thanksgiving.  It seems to me that this is exactly the kind of dancing that the Scriptures do encourage – the spontaneous expression of joy and gratitude and praise displayed by David the king (as recorded in 2 Samuel 6 – notably with no pronouncement of judgment from anyone but his bitter wife).

You see, there is an overflow of joy at the witnessing of God’s power and provision that manifest itself in different ways for different people.  Some fall silent in awe and gratitude.  Some shout and sing.  Some leap and dance.  To expect someone else to respond in the same way that you do is foolish at best – and at worst absurdly arrogant.

O my friends, God is beginning again to pour out His showers of blessing upon His people – at least here in this place in which I serve.  Even as the rain begins to fall, let us pray for rain.  Let us till the soil of relationships.  Let us sow the seed of the gospel.  Let us gather the fruit that He brings forth.  But in it all, let us not forget to celebrate the harvest.

Could it be that it’s time to dance in the rain?

I posted another version of this on the CalvaryDuncan facebook page a couple of weeks back, but for some who may think Gene Kelly’s just not cool enough, here’s one with Usher – and who could possibly say that Usher isn’t cool enough?