Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And The Rains Came

This morning I am sitting in the quiet of my sanctuary and I hear the rain coming down outside. Slow and steady. Hard enough to saturate the cracked ground, steady and consistent enough to penetrate the hard soil. The rain barrel will be full.

My youngest daughter started praying for rain weeks ago. Bold and mouthy she asked God specifically for rain—imitating Honi* she sat down on our front sidewalk and decided she would wait there until the sky spilled rain.

And the rains came. Sparse and scant. But it was enough to slick her hair to her head and dampen her clothes to her skin. She sat there for a long time and we laughed with her and she waited. She danced in the rain on the sidewalk (same one I danced on years ago) and I joined her. We frolicked and held onto each other. Laughing and forgetting to be self-conscience. Later in the evening she decided to get out of her comfort zone and she danced in the middle of our road. I could see her head over the tops of the cars from my place on the front porch steps.

She had prayed for rain. Asked God to send it.

The whole summer has been an endless succession of baking temperatures. Off the charts heat. Two weeks or more of temperatures in the triple digits.

Our front porch was often vacant because of the smothering heat. Even the early mornings proved to be too warm to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. We stayed inside. Shades closed. Lights off. Anything to reduce the temperature and help the air conditioners as they labored.

But she asked for rain and since that night we have had many rainstorms.

You have to learn to ask for rain.

I hadn’t fully recognized how hot and dry my life had been in the past year.

Circumstances melded together and created some long stretches of intense heat. It was a season of survival. A time of one new element added to the story after another. Major life changes—in rapid succession. A year of a sometimes grueling and demanding schedule.

I didn’t realize I was longing for rain.

Until my daughter sat on the sidewalk and asked God to send it.

Until she risked looking like a fool in the asking and the anticipation of expecting Him to send it.

And I wondered: was my faith still in a place where I was willing to look like a fool? Was I in a place where I could and would ask God for something and expect an answer? Where had I misplaced my child-like faith in my Father to do things beyond the ordinary? Against the grain? Outside the confines of the box I have gradually put Him in since I became an adult? Am I willing to look like a fool? Am I willing to take a risk—is it a risk if it really is a sure thing? Is depending on the character of God a risk? If you don’t know him or only know of him you might answer yes.

I looked at her sitting on the sidewalk. And then I watched her dance in the road. She prayed and expected God to answer. Not out of arrogance. Not out of entitlement. Not out of ignorance. But she asked out of a place of trust. Trust in who she knew the Father to be. The only risk for her was being willing to look like a fool. She took that risk.

And the rains came.

*Honi's story comes from The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.


TARSmith said...

ASk her to come to Indiana and be a fool with me. :-) Love you all.

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