This week, I’ll get rained on. Why?
Storms can be good. And since they’re coming anyway, get the most out of them! One guy builds a house on rock; the storms come, the house is fine. Another guy builds his house on sand; it’s a washout. We like to pat ourselves on the back for being like the wise guy. But there’s another aspect of that story we tend to miss: Both guys, foolish and wise, get rained on!
Well, that’s life — and Paul says God has a way of making the most of it. He says in Romans 5 that God uses the storms to grow us, filling in the wonderful details of the dream he dreamed when he dreamed us up. Start with sufferings, move to perseverance (stick-to-it-ive-ness), grow character, feel hope for the future, experience the fullness of God’s love.
No, I don’t want my growth in Christ to spring from pain and problems. I want my growth in Christ to spring from … fun. Dinner with friends. A winning lottery ticket.
Too bad. Life is problematic. This world is sin-skewed; it doesn’t work the way God originally created it to work, because people haven’t lived according to the original design.
But as Rick Warren points out, God whips up at least five kinds of benefits from the storms of our lives. First, storms help us develop compassion. Paul says that God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Storms also help us develop deeper relationships. Think about the difficult times you’ve been through with people in your ministry … sometimes them supporting you, sometimes you supporting them. Your relationship is probably deeper, richer, more valuable since that shared experience.
Storms help us develop inner strength. Early missionaries in Africa had to cross rivers and streams on foot, in danger of being swept away and drowning. Local Africans taught them to find the heaviest stone they were capable of carrying, and lift it up to their shoulders. The extra weight kept their footing solid and prevented them from being swept off their feet. Storms are difficult, but they’re strength-builders.
Storms draw us closer to God. Longtime believers often testify that they’ve felt closest to God during some kind of storm, and they found in the experience that God is truly a refuge, a shelter from danger.
And storms help us grow spiritually. The apostle Peter recognized this as he wrote, in “…The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10).
How am I getting rained on today? How is my house holding up?
My Prayer for the Next Seven Days… Lord, when I get rained on this week, please make the most of it for me … and let me see what you’re doing. Help me experience the fullness of your ideal for me. Let me rest in the fact that You are our refuge in times of need. Amen.