12 May 2013

The Gentle Spring Rain

There are few things as wonderful as sitting on the front porch enjoying a gentle spring rain. 

It is certainly spring in the Ozarks. Warm breezes replace the chilly winds of winter and sunshine alternates with rain to bring new life all around. But for me, there is little that compares to the evening thunderstorms. There is something awesome in the sound of roaring thunder crashes amid pelting rains and winds of adversity. It's as if the thunder calls all of nature to order. As evening gives way to dusk and rests into the darkness of night, the earth releases the life that has been held back until now. The morning light will draw up the tender shoot and open the beauty of the flower.

So it is with us. How often we talk of the seasons of life. We mourn the death of winter and then dare cry out in angst as spring begins to break us forth into new life. The nights are long and dark. The days themselves are often filled with clouds and rain. But the stormy nights are the most difficult to endure. The lightening startles and the thunder leaves us shuttering. The wind howls and the rain beats its unending rhythm on the window pane. We long for the morning and hope for a ray of sunshine.

But, what if we embrace the storm? What if we pull back the curtains and gaze on the beauty of the lightening? What if we count the seconds between flashes and crashes? What if we light a candle in the darkness, pour a cup of tea, and read a good book? What if we lay quietly in bed and listen to the rain on the roof?  In the storm? Oh yes, in the storm.

You don't have to look far to find a person who loves a good thunder storm on a spring evening. You might, however, be hard pressed to find one who so enjoys the storms of life.  While no one wants a thunder storm every day, we understand that the winds and the rains are necessary to new life. These distressing elements are what make the mighty oak a tower of strength and protection to the sapling beneath it. But in our human lives we want to be distress free. We want only gentle breezes and to only enjoy an occasional gentle rain, from the safety of our front porch. We find ourselves doing all we can to avoid the brutish assaults that come our way.

Jesus said, "In this world, you will have trouble. But, don't worry, I have overcome the world."

When the winds of adversity blow hard against us, messing our hair and blowing our skirt up over our head, we must recognize that there is strength being built in us that cannot be accomplished without the struggle. When the rain is painful on our skin and no umbrella can be found, we surely will allow the sting to reach the deepest corners of our heart. It brings to the surface and releases all that's been hidden, revealing the shining brightness of Christ in us - the hope of glory. When we finally turn the key in the lock and rush into the safety of our house, the door closes behind. The Comforter meets us there. He's been waiting. A fire warming the room, we lay down the burdens of the day and pick up our robe of righteousness. The kettle whistles and the warmth of His love holds us close. The crackling of His fire mixed with the rain on the roof becomes a sound of joy in our heart that few can understand.

Sorrow lasts for the night, but joy does comes in the morning.

The sunrise brings with it a rainbow of promise. When we step out again, a fresh beauty is all around. We keep our eyes on the promise. It will come to pass. We will endure the storms yet to come and let them do what needs to be done. We will sit quietly, sipping tea and cuddling with our Comforter. We will soon be walking taller and stronger than anyone knew possible. Like the mighty oak, towering above the sapling, we will find that that we have become a covering. Protecting and comforting others with the same comfort with which we've been comforted. 

There will always be storms in this life. Each one successfully endured strengthens against the next. Eventually what we know as a violent storm today, we will enjoy from the front porch, as a gentle spring rain. 

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