Have you ever been caught in a damp, chilly rainstorm? The raindrops beat like ice against you, chilling you to the core. The wind whips around to make sure that you are sufficiently soaked. Your goal is to reach a place of shelter in order to dry off and find warmth. The chill of the rain can leave you feeling damp and cold, though, even after you are out of the storm.
So it is with the storms of life. We are often caught in some kind of storm, wondering what God’s plan is, wondering how we will overcome, how we will manage to find warmth from the bone-chilling cold of the storm.
Why does God allow storms in our life? I wish I knew the answer to warm your heart.
But Jesus experienced storms while He was on the earth.
In Mark 4:35-41, we read the story of Jesus in a storm.
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
The disciples were frightened – they were with Jesus and they were frightened of the storm raging around them. What did they do? They woke Jesus, they told him of the storm, and Jesus did what He always does.
He made a way through the storm.
I don’t know what the disciples were expecting Jesus to do, but I don’t think they were expecting Him to calm the storm. They questioned each other after His rebuke to the sea, indicating their surprise or maybe disbelief, possibly even awe, that He had so much authority.
Jesus offered grace in the midst of their storm. He showed favor upon them by calming the storm, by exercising His authority over the rain in their life.
Have you noticed, though, that sometimes God doesn’t choose to put an immediate end to our storms. He doesn’t always pluck us out of the middle of the storm and plant us onto dry, warm ground. Sometimes the storm goes on. He doesn’t come and offer grace in our lives by ending the rain.
Sometimes He offers grace by letting it rain.
Have you ever gone through a situation and begged God to let you out of it?
Have you so desperately wanted to wake up from what must be a bad dream, because there’s no way that you would let yourself be in the position you now find yourself?
Have you endured the bone-chilling rain of one cold storm after another, only to realize as you look around, that it’s still raining?!?!
My answers to those questions there? Yes, yes, and YES!
The storms have been hard, the raindrops have been cold and brutally hard to withstand some days.
One day, though, I realized that though the rain still pours down, it no longer hurts. It’s not the bitter, bone-chilling, soul-scary storm it had been.
During the start of the storm, my soul was parched. Like the disciples, I ran to Jesus telling Him that this storm had sprung up, seemingly out of nowhere, in my life. I was desperate for a way out; this was not of my doing and I wanted no part of it.
And Jesus said, “Wait.”
Like we, as parents, may cause our children to pause in their vicious cycles of running through our house by placing a hand firmly on their head, so Jesus did with me. The rain did not stop. In fact it seem to beat mercilessly at times.
Then one day, I woke feeling refreshed. I woke having soaked in the goodness of the Lord.
You see, for a long time, my faith and trust may have been placed too much in people, in circumstances, in myself. Not that I didn’t trust God, but that I trusted others too much – I trusted in what I could see, more than in the One whom I could not see.
My soul was not as saturated with the Word of God as it should be. I operated out of dryness and near-emptiness some days. I carried God in my pocket, so to speak, since I was definitely His, but I was doing pretty well with that arrangement.
Until the storm came.
Now, the actual storm was not of my doing. But since we all live in community – our churches, our homeschool groups, our small groups, etc., – we know that when something impacts one person, it often impacts many around them. This was the case for me – the storm was not of my doing, but it sure did (and still does) impact me.
So God allowed the rain, and it was icy – I was cold, desperate, soaked through with the wind-whipped rain. I could not hide. God didn’t pluck me out from the storm and plant me on dry land. Oh, how I wish He had.
But that was not His plan. Instead, His plan was to saturate my soul. His plan was to make sure that I stood in a place where I had to choose God, or choose my own path.
Friends, if I can share one thing – just one?
Always, always, always
God didn’t extend grace by taking me out of the situation. Rather, He knew the storm was coming and He planned it for my own growth. God sent the rain, in my case, to fill me up, to saturate my soul, to nourish my heart.
And this can happen for you as well. When the storms come, when you beg God to move you, don’t be afraid if He doesn’t. If He keeps you firmly planted, know that sometimes the best – the best for our hearts, our bodies, our minds, and our souls can come –
When Grace Rains.
You can read part 2 here – When Grace Rains Down