January 11, 2017

Rain, Rain Go Away?

This past Sunday evening, I looked at the weather app on my phone and, after clouds on Monday, it showed eight consecutive days of rain! And when the little weather icons on a phone app look so depressing, how much more might the actual weather?! And so, even as I type, the clouds are thick, the ground is saturated, and the days have been exceedingly gray. Such is often winter in Cincinnati, I suppose. And I don’t doubt that it can have a dampening effect on our minds. Maybe that’s even by God’s wise design. Maybe the rainy, cloudy days help us appreciate the sun all the more (both literally, and in a spiritual sense … see 2 Samuel 23:3-4). But if so, that still makes the gray days … well, gray.

But it occurs to me that I shouldn’t be too quick to sing ‘Rain, rain, go away, come again another day.’ For God has good purposes for the rain (does He not?) even outside the purpose of making us appreciate the sun when the rain finally goes away! Rain is so often spoken of, in Scripture, as being the blessing of God. Rain was one of the examples Paul marshalled, when preaching to a group of pagans in Acts 14, to demonstrate to them the reality of the Creator God! And rain was one of the blessings God promised to Israel, in Deuteronomy 28, if they carefully obeyed His word!

So rain is a good thing! And of course, when we are thinking big picture, we understand these things. Much as we may not personally like the rain falling down, day after day, in the winter time … we’d not trade it for a drought, I can promise you! We need rain … not only for the lawns and flowers and trees to be beautiful around our homes, but (all the more) for the crops to grow which provide us (and the animals we eat) with grains, vegetables, fruits, and so on! The rain, says Isaiah, makes the earth “bear and sprout … furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater” (Isaiah 55:10).

And, if you know well that passage in Isaiah 55:10-11, you’ll remember that, embedded in it, is yet another reason to be thankful for the rain.  And that is the way the rain (along with the snow!) reminds us of the blessing of God’s word – not in the grayness that accompanies the rain, but in its fruitfulness!

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

Think of that, when the rain falls, day after day! Think of the blessing that the farmers, and grocers, and consumers (like us) will reap from it in the weeks and months ahead. And then thank God that His word works like that as well – even when (like the rain) you may not always realize or even appreciate it, at first! It will produce its fruit. And you will be glad, when the blossoms begin to open, for the rain!

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