The rainstorm I had hoped would arrive fashionably late wasn’t courteous enough to wait for my day to begin properly. As if the clouds knew I had an early meeting, they mocked my efforts by throwing back their collective heads and pouring out a steady stream of liquid laughter.
I added a raincoat to my Monday attire and loaded up for my dash to the car. Pack mules handle their loads with more grace and balance than I displayed. Without regard for weight distribution, I had laden my arms and shoulders with an overstuffed bag of dry cleaning, a shopping bag protecting a sweater to be returned for a refund, a mottled gray briefcase containing an electronic wonderland with three devices, a fully hydrated water bottle and a golf umbrella. I struggled to lock the door without dropping my load and braced for the pelting I would receive as I waddled to the car.
This was an inopportune time to discover that the umbrella I had chosen from our inclement weather inventory did not have an automatic pop-up button!
I, who often love the rhythmic beat of a rainy day, had a hard time not taking this storm personally. I was tired from the hard working weekend behind me. I was tense about the amount of the day’s work that was in front of me. I was eager to get on the road, both literally and figuratively. Now, because I was overburdened with baggage, I couldn’t get my umbrella open.
Old sayings about rain began to float to the surface of my waterlogged brain. “When it rains it pours.” ”Into every life a little rain must fall.” “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). At the moment I couldn’t decide which I was.
During my troubles in the downpour, I understood better than ever why rain symbolizes hardship and trials. I was feeling beleaguered myself. Compounding my misery was the obstinate umbrella. My nearly futile efforts reminded me that I am as intent on protecting myself from the storms of life as I am from wet weather.
Who doesn’t prefer an ongoing parade of sunny days to ones with clouds and rain? And when the inevitable storm appears, who wouldn’t take every opportunity to avoid the unpleasantness and to weather the storm unscathed?
But there are lessons to be learned in the storms. I learned them this week in the rain. I am learning them daily in life.
Storms give us an appreciation for the beauty of sun kissed days. They force us to determine what is most important and what we may wisely leave behind. They show us where our lives are unbalanced, or where we are in a precarious position. They help us sort out our priorities. They encourage us to assess our load and perhaps carry a lighter and more sustainable one. They teach us to persevere until we accomplish what we lies ahead.
Perhaps I could learn to love a storm, even a windy, cold, unpleasant one, if I focused more on the benefit they add to my life.
Let it rain, as long as I can learn more about the One in whom I have faith and lean heavily on him to see me through.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3 (NLT)