I will hurry off to hide in the higher place, into my shelter, safe from this raging storm and tempest. Psalm 55:8 (TPT)
It’s early evening and the wind-driven rain from Tropical Storm Elsa is peppering my window with a sound like a million BB’s. Just a few yards away, Aunt Bea, my old pear tree, is enduring the rough treatment like a trooper, safeguarding about a dozen swaying bird feeders and lending her thick cover of leaves to some waterlogged cardinals and wrens. Little freckled pairs, half-eaten by creatures under cover of darkness, bob like bright green corks in the expanding pond that is swallowing up my lawn. There’s a little thunder, off in the distance, like a half-hearted drumroll.
I don’t remember loving the rain as a child, probably because my childhood was in a time when going outside was the ultimate goal of everyone under the age of 12. When I became mother to two rambunctious boys, I still had not come to appreciate the restorative qualities that belong uniquely to the sound of rain. But once my time became more “mine”, nothing has held a greater allure for me than a stretch of steady rain. Not a soft gentle shower. Not a drippy, disinterested drizzle. Real rain, the kind that won’t be ignored. The kind that strums across my metal roof and the blacktop road and refuses to let up until it’s left a puddle (or a pond!) for me to remember it by.
Waves of wind can make it a lullaby. Other times, an occasional tantrum of thunder pulls me back from the brink of a rain-nap and that’s okay; I just get to listen to the rain a little longer.
Most people (more than half, at least) don’t like the rain. They want it to do its thing quickly and move on out. They are not what I am: a pluviophile. I’m the one who bookmarks the youtube videos of ten straight hours of rain. Rain on a Tent. Rain on a Tin Roof. Rain on a Windshield.
You get the idea.
As smitten as I am by rain, the only conclusion I can come to in seeking the “why” is that I can get shelter from it. I can watch it come down hard, sometimes with thunder or wind, from a dry place. From a safe place. Knowing that the rain is part of an incredible big picture that is incomplete without it. It makes me think of how it feels to be under God’s protection when the “rain” comes. Because it does.
I’m not suggesting that the “rain” of troubles, scarcity, uncertainty and fear should be enjoyed. But for children of God, those can be made bearable by three things, in this order: 1) Acknowledging Him as the Shelter that He is; 2) trusting that every rainfall has some purpose, and 3) having the faith/sense to remain in His Shelter. Wandering out invites a drenching. If it’s a storm that’s been building, or one that blows up in a hurry, then wandering out invites worse: lightning. A broken road. A sinkhole, or a flash flood.
Like swimming close to the lifeguard chair, we are safest close to the Father. Safety depends on proximity.
Just as rain in all its intensities and frequencies is a necessary part of God’s mysterious and sovereign natural world, the “rain” we face at various times and in various intensities in life is necessary to both remind us of our need for His Shelter, and to accomplish things in this life that may have little or nothing to do with one or most of us personally. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” That’s often misunderstood to mean we have to be thankful for whatever might be raining on us. We’re told to be thankful in every thing. Gratitude for whatever God is working out under cover of the rain is key. He has only two goals for whatever He allows to pass through the filter of His love for us: Our good, and His Glory.
I spent about thirty minutes earlier today under our metal carport, listening to the rain as it swept in curtains from south to north. A squall blew up, slanting the rain under the sturdy metal roof in hard gusts, stronger by the minute. I ended up in the passenger seat of my car, soggy but safe. Not overcome. Not set adrift.
Likewise, remaining within God’s Shelter doesn’t promise we won’t get soggy, but He promises we will endure the storms that are sure to come.
And afterward, our good.
And His Glory.