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In the south, we don't really have four traditional seasons - you know, spring, summer, fall, winter. Instead, we have almost summer, summer, still summer, and rain.
When it comes, it always seems like the most inopportune time. Just after you’ve washed the car. Or just after the kids made some amazing chalk art on the front walk. On your wedding day, or the morning of your child’s outdoor birthday extravaganza. Or when you discover your umbrella is loaned out to your daughter, and you’re wearing flip flops. In February. (Don’t judge, it can happen.) But rain doesn’t ask our permission for when to arrive, it simply comes with no approval needed or apologies given, bringing with it the occasional big scary lightning and jump-out-of-your-skin thunder to interrupt the natural ebb and flow of our day.
It’s a lot like life. Monday through Friday we wake up, do life, go to bed, repeat. Saturday and Sunday we fit in the things we didn’t do during the week, recharging and refueling for the stretch ahead.
And sometimes, it rains.
Always coming at the most inopportune time. Always coming when we don’t have time to add something else on our plate. Always coming when we’re not ready. When we’re unprepared. Without our approval, and with no apology, interrupting the perfect ebb and flow we’ve got going.
Rain looks different to everyone. Sometimes it’s just enough to slow down your day, but other times it’s an entire season of “I can’t take one more day of this, Lord, bring back the sun.” Long rainy seasons with no end in sight. A job loss. An illness. An abusive relationship that was once beautiful. A discovery that your teenage child is coping with life differently than you’d planned. The realization that you’re coping with life differently than you’d planned. Or that you don’t know how to cope to begin with.
And each day that it continues to rain, we want more desperately to return to the season we just left, because it’s familiar, and warm, and it’s what we know.
But rain has a purpose. Ask any southern farmer, and they’ll tell you that sometimes rain is sent to soften the soil, and prepare it for seed planting. Then the heavy rains come, allowing the crops to grow in root, and finally the late rains come just before the harvest that allows the plant to mature. Without any one of those, the crop year isn’t good.
You see, all rain has a purpose. And even if we don’t see that purpose today, it is there, working behind the scenes to bring things in the future that we may not even be aware of.
James 5:7-8 reminds us to be patient in the rain, because the giver of rain has plans ahead.
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
Just like the soil, it is in the rain that we are softened, grown, and matured. Whether you’re in the season of looking back to appreciate the rain you weren't sure you would survive, or are in the middle of a rainy season now just waiting for the rainbow to signal the end, we are reminded that God remains faithful even when things don’t turn out the way we expect them to. Even through the rain.
Hilary & Karen
P.S. You know that adage that says rain on a wedding day is bad luck? It rained the morning of my wedding day almost 17 years ago. Seventeen years. You’ll make it, I promise. ~ Karen