And the Rain Will Fall…
"Can you get the attention of the clouds,
and commission a shower of rain?
Can you take charge of the lightning bolts
and have them report to you for orders?
Who do you think gave weather-wisdom to the ibis,
and storm-savvy to the rooster?
Does anyone know enough to number all the clouds
or tip over the rain barrels of heaven
When the earth is cracked and dry,
the ground baked hard as a brick?"
Job 38:34-38 The Message (MSG)
I wake this morning to the sound of gentle rain falling on my roof, and outside my windows. It is a gentle rain.
I wander through the house, cup of coffee in hand, looking out through discs of water clinging to glass, and beyond to the pine-straw dark and rich with moisture, the bamboo bowing down gracefully under its new weight. Rain. I am thankful for its arrival. But after three days, I will be happy for the skies to clear and the sun to shine again.
On the other side of this land, they pray for the rain to come. The ground is parched and the winds blow strong. In northern California, fires sweep through the forests and down the hills, destroying everything for miles. We watch, horrified, as flames surround fleeing families, as they video their hopeful escape on their phones. The fire around them rages. The firestorm envelops the land.
Rain. We pray for it to come. We pray for it to go.
Who is in charge of this rain? Who knows where it will fall and how long and how hard? God tells us that He is.
He gathers the clouds. The lightning comes at His command. He shows signs of the changing weather to His creatures below. He pours out His water onto the earth…
But what about when He seems to get it wrong? Too little and the fruit dies on the vines, the trees explode into flames. Too much and the rivers rise and houses float down the streets.
I have to remember the story of Job. The job is a very old story; possibly the oldest story God tells us. Satan has challenged God that Job is only good and faithful because God provides for Job and protects him. "Let things go really wrong for Job, and let's see how long he will sing your praises," Satan taunts God.
God allows Satan to rain down destruction onto Job. He loses everything – except his life, and his wife encourages him to even forfeit that. "Curse God and die!" is her best advice. (Note to self: Don't blame God and give up – that is exactly what Satan is hoping for!)
Job has lots of conversations with his friends questioning why he is suffering. They spend days questioning Job's goodness, God's goodness, and God's motives. At the end of the day, they still don't have a good answer. But Job refuses to blame God and give up.
And that is when God shows up in the storm. It is his turn to ask the questions. And he does. Question after question from God points out one big, giant wonderful truth. We don't know everything. But God does.
When we can't understand the why's and how's and when's, we just need to trust that this life is much bigger and more complicated than we can understand – but it is not bigger and more complicated than God. I don't need to understand. I just need to trust God.
So I will pray this morning for the dear people in California. The rains have refused to fall and many have lost their lives; many have lost everything. I will pray for their safety. I will pray for them to recover well. And I will pray for them to hold onto God.
I will pray for them to trust God– although this earthly struggle may break their hearts. I will pray that He is making them stronger, more compassionate, more thoughtful of others, more grateful, more dependent on Him.
Who causes the rain to fall? God does. But He has a history of walking with us above the waves and through the fire. We just need to remember to keep our eyes on Him.
Question: What storms have overtaken your life? Do you see God in the storm?
Even When it Hurts Hillsong
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson