I’ve always hated rain. It’s annoying, fun-blocking, messy, cold and breeds moody children. I have strict requirements for my rain: rain is welcome if the sun stays out and the air remains warm and no boots are necessary. Growing up, it irritated me when people at the Wednesday night prayer meetings would always ask God to send rain in the midst of a dry spell.
But last month, we planted grass in our backyard. I called my grandparents and told them I’m beginning to get on board with rain. I still resent the hair-ruining humidity and the mud-covered shoes, but for the first time, I’m ok if it happens.
It’s not just older people with nice lawns who appreciate rain. I'm recognizing it's value. I feel like a hippie these days, talking about the earth and the rain—a monotheistic, leg-shaving hippie.
If droughts tell us anything, it's that we need water.
It’s not that I don’t understand the science behind it. It’s not that I don’t see the value in water falling to the earth and satiating all of life.
It’s that I don’t like the way in which the satiation comes.
Why can’t God take a clue from the bottled water people and hand it out by the cases?
Why can’t it show up in private lakes in our backyards?
Why does it have to black out the sky and ruin picnics and soak the bottom third of my pants?
I’m all for life. But I like to control the way in which it comes. I love grace, joy and mercy, but I want to control how that looks in my world.
God is welcome to sustain me. But I need his delivery to be personally palatable.
Often, satisfaction in God doesn’t feel like we think satisfaction should feel.
Life falling from the sky in the form of precipitation is frequently accompanied by darkness.
The provision of God doesn’t always bring about the fairy-tale feelings of happiness we’ve learned to demand.
We’ve come up with weighty expectations to which we hold God. We want to life to operate according to our standards and structures. We want God to do what we would do were the roles reversed.
We want rain with sunshine and warmth.
But God waters the earth through gray skies and pelting rain. Sometimes the sky crackles with lightning and shakes the earth with thunder.
Sometimes the lights go out and the dog gets scared and the kids can’t sleep.
God doesn’t always meet us the way we want to be met. God doesn’t always take care of us the way we want to be taken care of.
I had a few hours to myself today. I went to my favorite coffee shop and sat outside to write. It began to rain so I moved to a different outside table. When that table became wet I moved to another table. Then, the rain moved sideways and ruined the covered patio completely.
I was annoyed.
Rain, rain, go away.
How often do we reject life and provision because we don’t like the way it comes to us?
Have we grown weary of God unless he does what we want him to do?
Don’t tell me something I don’t want to hear.
I want the job I want. I want the timing I want. And I need it all packaged exactly how I’d wrap it up myself.
But God’s satisfaction is bigger than what we want.
God has the goal of life and redemption.
And my understanding of scripture is that neither life nor redemption come wrapped in bows.
Satisfaction isn’t void of dark days. Satisfaction offers the reality of God even in thunder and lightning. Sometimes even through thunder and lightning.
God provides. It may not make us Christmas-morning happy.
But it will make us whole.
When the Wednesday night prayer meeting folks pray for rain, they aren’t praying for gray skies. They are praying for provision from the Provider. And they’ll take it in whatever form it comes. They ask for rain because they know that’s what they need.
That’s where the maturity is—accepting life from the Life-giver- in the form through which it comes.
Discipleship means praying for provision. Letting it fall. And maybe putting on a shower cap and jumping in a puddle or two.