Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, for he makes the storm clouds. And he will send showers of rain so every field becomes a lush pasture.”Zech 10:1
Rain is a promise – it’s a blessing and a gift
Deuteronomy 28:1 32:2 Ezekiel 34:26 Job 5:10 Psalm 147:8
Northern Ireland is such a wet place – we have a lot of rain!
Truthfully, if I open my curtains in the morning and see it’s raining, the first words that come out of my mouth are not usually anything like “Oh what a beautiful, rainy day”!
It’s all a matter of perspective isn’t it? If you live somewhere like I do – the land of perpetual rain, your response to rain might be like mine. God’s people in the Bible viewed rain as a tremendous blessing; in their desert-like places, a rainy day was a wonderful day!
In the Bible, rain is often used as a metaphor for blessing.
Usually, when we pray for rain, in the Spiritual/Blessing sense, I picture a deluge of outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Of healing, of joy, of renewed faith, strength and hope. Resulting in a deeper, stronger walk with God and each other.
I want that! I want it for my church, my family, my town! Often that’s how The ‘rain’ we ask for does fall. But do you know what I’ve discovered?
OFTEN GOD BLESSES US IN WAYS THAT WE DON’T SEE, AT THE TIME, AS BLESSING – so we do what people instinctively do when it starts to rain; we put up our umbrellas! Or we grumble and complain, about the very thing that The Lord has given us to refresh us, water our dry and thirsty places, and bring growth, and we metaphorically ‘close the curtains’, because we don’t recognise what God is doing as blessing.
THINK BEFORE YOU PUT UP THAT UMBRELLA!
The Lord often blesses us in ways that don’t feel like blessing at the time:
Perhaps the “rain” of difficulties and challenges you’re facing in life at the moment make you want to ‘close the curtains’ and begin today over, but think before you do that. The rain of difficulty is not falling on you because God doesn’t love you. It’s because He does!
The blessing is that in your difficulties you draw you closer to Him, you learn to rely on Him and His strength, rather than your own.
Romans 8:28 says “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” That’s ALL things. Not some.
Maybe you’re experiencing the rain of financial hardship? This is one of those storms in life that causes many to close those metaphorical curtains and even pull the duvet back over their heads!
How could there possibly be blessing in this? But remember- ‘ALL things’. God has not abandoned you. He promised to ‘supply all your needs according to his riches in glory’. You will come through this.
Ask God what He may be trying to teach you through this time.
I recently went through a time like this; The Lord wanted to teach me that He is my provider. I was saying the words, verbally, but somehow they had never really made a connection with my heart. In the deepest parts of my heart, it was my husband I relied on to provide for us.
Now, with hindsight, those very difficult times we went through can be looked back on as a blessing, because I grew – deeper in my relationship with God, and stronger in my faith that He will provide.
God allows these rainy times – how else would we learn to grow in faith, courage and strength, and reliance on Him if it was ‘sunny’ all the time?
It can be hard to recognise God’s blessing in hard times, But In Isaiah 55:8,9 He says to us “my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways”. God doesn’t operate as we do.
And look at what He promises from the next verse onwards:
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:10-13
Let’s learn to look for the blessing in life’s hard times, and not be the one to put up our umbrella, shielding ourselves from what could actually be God’s rain of blessing.