How’s the weather where you are? Sunshine or storms? Whatever weather comes our way, rest assured that our Lord stands with you, always and forever.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 – NIV
Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it pours. When it pours while you are in a camper at the beach, it’s boring. When it happens on the last day of your beach week, well, that is frustrating.
I started the day in my camping rocker, sipping my hot tea in the early morning sunshine. My plans to hit the beach looked promising. One last day to enjoy the sun and fun. And then I saw the cloud.
It was far away, safely in the distance, but it was gray and drawing steadily darker. I remained optimistic. Maybe it would move off in another direction. Maybe it would leave me alone. Maybe my plan for the day would still work out.
It didn’t. It started small, just a few raindrops. I put out the awning and continued my optimistic vigil of sky watching. Sprinkles turned to showers. The wind picked up, forcing me inside.
That’s where I stayed for the rest of the day, raindrops running down the windowpane. My day of sun streaked promise was washed away by a cloudy drizzle that wouldn’t abate.
Sitting forlornly on my little couch, I thought about how this day mirrors life. One minute, we are skipping along in the sunshine, full of plans and possibilities. Our eyes are dancing with the promise of good things to come. Grab your flip flops and head for the beach. The fun is just waiting for you at the end of the boardwalk.
But then, without warning or prior invitation, the gray cloud rolls in. Sometimes it just hangs there, ominous and ugly. Will it move away or mess up my plans?
Sometimes the suffering starts with a sprinkle. Other times, it arrives in a roar of thunder, a flash of lightning. The sickness strikes. The heartache hits. The cancer returns. The treatment isn’t working anymore. The pink slip lands on the desk. The words you so did not want to hear are spoken.
Suddenly, the downpour begins. The pelting rain is slapping your face. The storm clouds are unleashing their fury on your unsuspecting and unprepared self, and all you can think is “Why?”
What can we do when the storm rages and the rain pours? We cannot stop the rain or silence the storm. All we can do is run for cover. Seek shelter. Like me climbing the camper steps and slamming the door against the pelting onslaught, we must run for Jesus when the suffering strikes. We must seek the shelter of our Lord. He is our refuge. He is our fortress. We can rest in the assurance that He knows every trial we face, and He will be with us through it all. We can trust Him with any and every thing. Our situation may feel overwhelming, even impossible, but nothing is impossible with God.
The rain didn’t stop when I wanted it to. On that final beach day, it just kept on pouring. It wasn’t my plan. It wasn’t what I wanted. The trials of life are like that. They are not what we want to happen, but they happen nonetheless, and we have to deal with them. Our only choice in the matter is how we weather the storm.
Will we weather the onslaught with fear and trembling or grumbling and complaining? Will we grow bitter and resentful? Will we lose heart or abandon our faith?
None of those responses bring peace, only more heartache. Taking refuge in God, trusting His plan even if we don’t understand, that is the pathway to peace. That is where we find the strength to go on despite the gray clouds ahead. In Jesus, we find our hope shining brightly even in the midst of a drenching downpour.
In answer to these heavy thoughts, I awoke the next morning to sounds of birdsong outside my still wet camper window. Hot tea in hand, I opened the door to find an absence of raindrops and a hint of sunshine. The clouds were still there, but they could not obliterate the few golden rays that refused to be deterred. The sun was ready to shine again, persevering despite the unrelenting clouds.
Friends, in this earthly life, we are guaranteed trials. There will be heartache and loss, hardships and grief. We want to dispense with these clouds that hinder our happiness, but we cannot. We want perfection in this world, but it is only available in the next. So let us take the happy times with the hard ones too. May we hold onto the good even as we weather the grief. God is with us and for us, always and forever. His promises are true. No clouds can block His light. No rain can wash away His love.
Keep your eyes on the horizon. Those golden rays may be hidden just now, but they will surely shine again.
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
Psalm 59:16 – NIV
O Lord Jesus, shine Your light upon us. Meet us in our grief. Rejoice with us in the sunshine. Wherever we are, whatever we face, we know You are always with us. Help us keep the faith when life is happy and when it is hard. For You are our ever-present help in times of trouble. In that promise, we can take refuge.
In the Shining Name of Jesus, we pray,