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.

Storms don’t define me

“You are either in the middle of the storm, coming out of a storm or going into a storm.”

Every time I hear this common saying, it makes me feel uncomfortable.

It’s not that I disagree life is full of storms. All of us will face difficult circumstances and trials over the course of our lives. I just don’t like the focus.

Life isn’t about the storms. It’s about the Savior.

Every day, every moment, we have a choice of where our eyes are fixed. We can decide where our stability, direction and peace rests.

Illustration from Bedtime Bible Stories, pg. 322

Illustration from Bedtime Bible Stories, pg. 322

Last night, our family bedtime devotion centered on Matthew 8:23-27. Jesus and His disciples were on a boat, and while Jesus slept, a storm came on hard. The waves crashed onto the deck and began to overcome the disciples work to keep it afloat. In fear and desperation, when their hope was lost, they cried out to Jesus! Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves, and suddenly all was calm. This is what our devotion had to say:

His followers were afraid because they believed more in the storm than in Jesus…Many people today believe in the wrong thing. They have little faith in Jesus and great faith in the world.

– Bedtime Bible Stories, pg. 333

When we cling to Jesus, there is hope and shelter. Within every storm, God is there, ready to gather us under His wings, to cover us. It’s not the rain that soaks. Within His shelter, grace falls freely, filling us to the brim while the storm rages on.

Though the circumstances of life can rip apart what we have built, break our hearts and threaten our security, the storms do not dictate our future. Fierce winds and thunder can be drowned out as God’s love holds us tight. The lightning may keep coming, but our hearts can be captivated by the Light of the world.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

– Psalm 91:1-4

When I look back on my life, I don’t want to just recall the storms. I want to remember God’s mighty protection, and sweet moments of grace.

It’s not the storms that define me. It’s the very presence of Jesus, who is right there with me, no matter what.