Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because He gives you the early rain for your vindication. He sends showers for you, both early and latter rain as before. -Joel 2:23
***Rain. It's one of those things we need for life and yet no day seems like a convenient day for it. Somehow we're never quite prepared for it when it comes, even when we've been lamenting a lack of it.
When it rains on someone's wedding day, we say it's good luck; yet nobody wants it to "rain on their parade." And why is it that in one region the sky could be so stingy that a spark will ignite a forest, while in another it drowns the ground in its floods?
Rain is one of those things we would welcome... if we could just choose when, where, how, and how much it happens. So too life's lessons.
Recently I had a conversation with God about a tough decision I had to make. In my Bible reading that morning I decided to read the Psalm that corresponded to the date. It was storming outside and the passage happened, interestingly, to talk about God being in the midst of a storm:
He parted the heavens and came down, a dark cloud beneath His feet. He rode on a cherub and flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He made darkness His hiding place, dark storm clouds His canopy around Him. From the radiance of His presence, His clouds swept onward with hail and blazing coals. The Lord thundered from heaven; the Most High projected His voice. He shot His arrows and scattered them; He hurled lightning bolts and routed them. ...He reached down from heaven and took hold of me; He pulled me out of deep waters. ...He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me (Psalm 18:9-14, 16, 19, HCSB).While the thunder and lightening crashed around me as I read that morning, I knew God was assuring me that He was surrounding me with His power, that He would not leave me in the dark, that He would rescue me from confusion and show me the right path to take.
By that evening, the rain had subdued and the sun was pushing through the clouds. The world around me was peaceful, but I still wasn't at peace about the decision I had to make. I had talked over, prayed about, and collected as much information as I could, and it was time to lay all that aside and take a step of faith.
As I sat in silence in the same spot where I'd read the Psalm that morning, I looked out the window, breathed a heavy sigh, and made a very tough choice.
As soon as my decision was official, a gentle rain began to fall in a patch right outside the window where I was sitting. This time, however, instead of lightning and thunder piercing the sky, the rain fell silently through the tree branches, shimmering like snow as the sun sparkled off each drop.
This was the rain of peace. This was a nod from heaven. I sat awestruck at the kindness of my Father God.
He sends showers for you, both early and latter rain....
I could have sat there in that spot all evening, were it not for my husband eagerly calling to me from the front porch. I went out to join him, and there, stretching from one end of our culdesac to the other, splashing the gray sky with color, was a rainbow.
He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.
In the aftermath of that decision, I have needed to return to these verses and visuals to remind myself of how the Lord graciously spoke to my spirit. God truly reveals Himself through His Word, His creation, and prayer, if we'll just still ourselves enough to receive from Him.
Psalm 32, verses 8, 6, & 7 say:
I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give counsel.
Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to You at a time that You may be found. When great floodwaters come, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance.Sometimes the proverbial storms of life feel like they are going to drown us where we stand. Other times we'd take a torrential downpour over the deafening silence we perceive from heaven.
But it bears reminding that the God who promises to reveal Himself to us, hides in the darkness, clothes Himself in clouds, rides on the wind, and speaks through thunder.
It's really not about the storm; it's about the One who's inside it.
I needed deliverance that day. I needed clear counsel from above. More than that, though, I needed reassurance that the God I was determined to faithfully follow, was faithfully leading me.
Doesn't matter what I feel
Doesn't matter what I see
My hope will always be
In Your promises to me
Now I'm casting out all fear
For Your love has set me free
My hope will always be
In Your promises to me
Your Promises lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Essential Music Publishing