I woke up this morning to the pitter patter of a gentle rain on the rooftop. Now, it's been almost 2 months since we've had measurable rain in my area, so I just laid there for 15 or 20 minutes listening to the sweet sound. I was enjoying the sound and thanking God for the much-needed blessing when he started me thinking.
I began to wonder why God allows dry times like we've experienced over the last couple months. Then I wondered why he chose today to bring us relief.
I remembered that he brought and promised times of drought in the Old Testament as times of judgment (see Haggai 1:7-11 or Deut 28:23-24). But he also brought times of heavy rains, even a flood as judgment as well (see Gen 7:6-24). And then there were the times he brought a refreshing rains as a blessing too (Ps 68:9 or 147:8 or Acts 14:17).
But which of these situations are we in today? Why have we had a lack of rain and did it end today?
An argument could be made that God held back the rain because of our sin or our worship of other gods like money, ourselves, or power. But for that argument to hold water - pun intended - we would also have to believe he sent today's rain for one of two reasons:
Another argument could be made that neither the lack of rain or today's showers are a result of God's divine intervention. It's possible his control over today's weather was exercised in the fact that he set up the world. He made its geographic features and it's weather patterns as a beautifully-functioning system. And in the day-to-day matters, maybe he just lets the system run as it was designed.
There are times, as the creator of the system and the perfect judge of the world, he chooses to intervene and affect a particular outcome. But most of the time, he just lets it run.
So which of these arguments is correct? Which one explains the weather where I live or a typhoon in Asia or a famine in Africa? Honestly, I don't know any better than you do. It could be either, or both, or something altogether different.
I tend to think our current weather patterns aren't forms of judgment, however, because God only used the weather as judgment a few times and they were all in the Old Testament and we're under a new covenant now. But, then again, God does choose to bless his children in big and small ways every day. The rain today could be him exercising that prerogative. He intervenes in the lives of believers and unbelievers every day. Jesus even talked about this exact topic.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
I tend to lean toward my second argument to explain our weather because I believe the theory demonstrates the Providence of a loving God who rules the world with order, which confirms what is written in Ecc 3:1-7.
In the end, however, it doesn't matter what I think. God is God and he can and will act in the world in whatever way he chooses; without respect to whether I can understand his reasoning or not.
What does all this mean, then? If I can't know or understand why God acts (Ecc 3:10-11), how am I supposed to react when he does? How can I trust God when I can't understand or comprehend him or his actions?
Take a look around your life and reflect a minute. How many things do we absolutely depend on that we have little to no understanding of how they actually work? For instance, the car, our cell phones, the internet, gravity and the other laws of physics to name a few.
But let's go a step further; to the people we surround ourselves with. Do we fully understand our spouse, our kids, or our boss or co-workers? Or how about ourselves, do we know why and how we do everything we do? Do we know how our brain functions or how our muscles and bones work together or why our favorite color is blue or we hate cauliflower?
There is so much in this world we accept based solely on our experience and faith. Why do we struggle to extend that same grace to God?
There is so much in this world we accept based solely on our experience and faith. Why do we struggle to extend that same grace to God? Many people - most of us at one time or another - refuse to believe in God until we have incontrovertible proof of his existence. Or until we fully understand why he let something happen or kept something from happening in our lives.
Photo by Art4TheGlryofGod by Sharon
When your cell phone crashes for the millionth time, what do you do? Do you stop using cell phones? No, you go to the store and get another one even though you know they're ultimately unreliable and will let you down again some day.
But when God allows disease, depression, death or misfortune into our lives, do we rely on him like we do our cell phone? Or do we cast him aside because we can't understand his purposes or because we choose to blame him for letting bad things happen? Do we start to doubt and ask ourselves, "How can I trust God when I can't understand him or what's going on"?
I don't like to acknowledge it, but this world isn't about me. It doesn't matter if I understand what's going on or not - and much of the time I don't! It doesn't matter if I like what's happening or not. None of it is about me. It's ALL about God and his purposes.
Is it possible, then, the reason for the rain and drought and famine and struggle is to remind us of God and his presence in the world and our lives? Is it possible that it's God asking us to treat him better than we treat our cell phones? Maybe he wants us to see the struggles in life - the metaphorical and the actual dry times - as invitations to reach out to him for comfort and ways to stay true to him even when it's hard.
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