Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry - Rutland, OH
To those of us living in southeastern Ohio, as in other places around the world, it is no secret that we are experiencing a season of rain. For weeks, it seems we have been in this cycle of rainy days separated by just enough dry days to get the grass mowed before the rains return, making the grass grow all the more. We have had two or three heavy rains creating localized flooding, yet most farmers have been able to harvest their wheat, and the corn in the fields is standing more than head-high. Both good and bad results from the same rains.
The Lord speaks a lot about rain and storms in His word. He uses it to teach us about His love and kindness, (Acts 14:17) about righteousness (Is.45:8), about growth and blessings, about His holiness and majesty, (Ps. 29 and Job 37), and He speaks to us of His judgment as in Genesis 7:4. Those who rely on the presence of God in their lives have historically heard the voice of the Lord in the thunder and seen His overpowering presence in the lightning. Yet, we often get the greatest comfort in the gentle rain or even the refreshing that comes with a morning mist.
Consider how our relationship with God is like the summer rains: It may be only a sprinkling. We can go about our work, engage in most outdoor activities while barely noticing its existence. If we are driving, we may turn our windshield wipers on “intermittent.” That, in itself, is symbolic of our engagement with the Lord. He is
with us throughout our days but we barely notice. Other matters occupy our minds. If something goes wrong, we may call on Him just to ask that He wipe away our problem.
Then there are scattered showers. It seems the weather forecasters throw these in most summer days just as a hedge in case a shower may pop up. Some folks may receive a shower or two, some may not. As a teenager, I worked for a farmer who operated two farms which were separated by just a mile. Many a day we were rained out at one farm yet could move to the other and continue to work the fields. While we understood the rain to be a blessing and a necessity for the success of the farm, it was far too easy for us to see the rain as an interference to our plans and an irritant in our day.
Of course, summer rains often come as thunderstorms; heavy rain accompanied by lightning and thunder, sometimes even wind and hail. When these come, it is time to take cover. It is time to “batten down the hatches,” to use a nautical term. Some of these can be frightening and cause people to call upon the Lord, begging for His mercy. In the Old Testament particularly, such storms were often seen to represent God’s anger and judgment upon a wayward people, but we also learn that these provide opportunity for the Lord to demonstrate his protective nature, to exercise His calming presence. “Sometimes the Lord calms the storm; sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms the child.”(author unknown.)
Then there are times when we get to experience a nice steady rain: the kind which sets in all day, refreshing and renewing the earth. These are rains in which you may sit on the porch and watch as the world of His creation drinks deeply of His blessing. These are days for lying back and listening to the steady rhythm of the rain on the roof, allowing even the sound of it to permeate your soul. This is time when you can relax sufficient to engage in pure conversation with the Lord; to find yourself being more open to hear Him clearly, and perhaps even more freed to speak honestly with Him. These are the good days. Yes, such rains come infrequently and perhaps we aren’t always so freed up to take advantage of them, but the experience can become a part of our daily living as we learn to walk with the Lord and in Him be refreshed, as in walking in a gentle summer rain.