When it rains

We jumped into the car after church determined to make the trek to Silver Dollar City to see the Christmas lights. It was the last day of the season for the holiday festivities. The skies were overcast and gloomy, but our trusty weather app said the rains wouldn’t start until later in the night.

We sailed through the three-hour drive, with virtually no traffic, and were thrilled that the park wasn’t full. That meant quick lines and more fun!

Then, I felt it. A drop. Next, a drizzle, just a sputtering from the sky. We had just gotten a funnel cake sampler, so we found the last table under a canopy and began to eat. The rains came, and began to soak our winter coats. Matt had thought to bring our big rainbow umbrella, and so we huddled close together and began to walk slowly underneath to the next show so we could get in from the rain.

Under the rainbow umbrella canopy trying to stay dry

Apparently many, many others had the same idea. The theater was packed full of wet people looking for respite.

The lights went down. An angel appeared. He recounted meeting Mary and how she and her betrothed traveled to Bethlehem. There, she gave birth to a son, God’s Son. And the world was changed. The skies opened up in praise, shepherds went to find the baby, wisemen followed a star to worship the tiny king. The Gospel was shared.

It wasn’t rain that wet my cheeks inside the theater. It was the realization that God made it rain that day so this crowd could know the truth about Jesus.

The downpour lessened once the show was finished, and we enjoyed our time at the park and all its lights.

We love the Christmas lights at Silver Dollar City!

Rain will often change our plans, our moods, and our perspectives. Sometimes our lives are pummeled by storms and soaked in sorrowful tears. Rain can bring beautiful growth and refreshment, as well as hesitation and even peril.

When the hard rains come, and they will come, I want to remember these three things I realized dodging the drops at SDC.

  1. Rain can bring us closer to those we love. Instead of scattering, when we were facing rain and potentially changed plans, my family huddled together underneath the dry cover of our umbrella. We used the rain as an opportunity to be together and move together.
  2. When it rains, look for the Gospel on display. God does not waste our pain or our tears. Often our struggles are a conduit for God’s message of hope and redemption. God may make it rain specifically to redirect or prepare the heart fields to receive His One and Only Son.
  3. The rain will end. There is always a start and an end to the rain, and to the storms in life. Believe that, and hold onto that. The rain may last so much longer than forecasted or come unexpectedly, but it will not last. The clouds will roll back to reveal the sun that was always there.

I’m not dead anymore

great grace

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us,made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!
– Ephesians 2:4-5

I used to be dead.

Not fake dead, or halfway dead. Dead dead.

And now, I’m writing to you. So, obviously a miracle happened to take my very dead self, and bring me to life.

It’s called grace.

My dead, buried-in-sin soul, was resurrected by grace.

Life can only come from God, and my wrongdoing, my sin, had murdered my connection with Him. So, I lay dead in the pit my sin had drilled, separated from my Creator.

Yet, in the vast richness of His mercy, God saw me when I couldn’t see. He loved me though I was decaying in the darkness. He loved me in my shameful ugliness and bitter death.

He
loved
me.

God’s great love compelled Him to action. He couldn’t leave me there. He had to intervene.

So, He exchanged His life for mine. He freely gave to me what cost Him everything.

Grace means receiving something good that I do not deserve.

This is amazing grace.

And I’m not dead anymore.