We had a much-needed rain last night. Though the arrogant lightning flashed boldly in my window making it hard to fall asleep, when I heard the droplets pelting against my window pane I knew that thirsty Mother Earth would be glad for a drink. In the morning, the soaking had left a smile on the face of my struggling, newly sodded lawn and renewed my hope that the hydrangea I had transplanted into the front mulch bed — a gift to me from my new next-door neighbor — might still gather the strength to stand up tall. Nice as he is, I felt sure he would be noticing.
As I strode along the drive and then through the neighborhood with my two energetic pups, my shoes became altogether sodden thanks to the puddling on the path which didn’t drink the rain up. Neither did signs and vehicles we passed, nor the metal-covered electrical box, nor the roadway, nor the roofs of nearby homes or their driveways nor the …. But so much did. The browning hillside. The drooping trees and bent shrubs. The colorful annuals planted hopefully along the foundations. These surely did.
Suddenly I felt an odd gratitude for the indiscriminate nature of the rains, falling on all things equally, like the grace of God. Paying no mind to where they land — whether needed or well-received, whether shirked, shed or run off down the hill into the pond — they distributed themselves equally. Yes, the Father sends rain on the just and unjust.
At once I felt a bit of a twinge, recalling times when I had prickled at the apparent unfairness of good things that had come to the poorly mannered, undeserving, entitled or even to the apparently wicked while the same good seemed to be withheld from those who needed or deserved it the most. I needed this simple reminder that the grass, my grass, didn’t receive its rain because it needed it but because of the even-tempered and merciful nature of the One who delivers it.
So 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.” (Matthew 5:45)
When we put our hope and trust in humans and human ways, we are sure to be disappointed, but if we trust in God first, perhaps we can trust in what God’s grace can do. Even in them. Even in us. Especially in the storms of life.
Have you ever played the trust game? Where someone demonstrates trust in his or her fellows by falling backward into the waiting arms of a team of people set to catch her or him?
Whom do you trust like that?
I just played a new trust game. One partner keeps eyes closed, while the other partner leads him or her (only with words, no touching) through a crowded room, out a narrow doorway, down a crowded hall – with other people, both sighted and not-sighted, playing this game – around a bend, down another hall and into a crowded public space. On arrival, turn around and return.
Guiding, without sight. Only by faith. Faith in me. That no harm would come to her.
I am cautious, waiting for the way to clear, while talking her through the steps we will take to reach our destination. Introducing myself – did I mention that we had never met each other before? – I assure her that her safety is my utmost goal. But we will achieve our objective.
We begin. I go before her, my back to the traffic, my face to her. At first, I give instructions: turn this way, 2 steps that way, stop. But when I watch her face I see her comfort. She has placed her confidence in me, her complete trust in me. I will talk her through this.
Come toward my voice.
I will stay in front of you.
No harm will come to you.
I will clear your way.
We enter the lighted hallway through the open door of the classroom and her face beams. She pauses without moving. “That’s amazing,” she says, “I know I am in the light, even though my eyes are closed.”
I smile, but she doesn’t see it. She is waiting and listening, blind to the traffic, the congestion of people, and to the chaos of others navigating the hallway. She trusts. Fully.
So simple. Listen to My voice.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. ~ John 10:14-16
Leave your phone, your notebook, and your water bottle behind.
Just you and me around the lake this morning.
Can you do this?
But what if the sunrise is spectacular?
My sunrise is not meant for you to preserve,
distribute or reproduce.
But what if there are words to record?
My words will be there,
when you return.
But what if I’m thirsty?
There’s a fountain part way around,
but you won’t need it.
So, out the door,
down the steps,
along the ramp
and through the archway I go.
Onto the path that encircles the lake.
There, there in the East is the glow.
The shadows deep, growing pink on the waters,
the geese and the swans, silhouetted against it all,
going about their morning as if this happens every day.
But I, I the intruder,
the visitor from out of town,
pause at the spectacle and smile at the cast.
Behold, the Premier! the one and only showing of
Sunrise. Today. For me.
Tears. Tears of joy.
This is a mere yawn
for the Creator of the Dawn.
Rounding the bend,
the action in the eastern sky is obscured by trees, hills and shoreline.
Wait! Don’t go!
I race around the bend but, alas,
I’m too small to see it.
Too near to perceive it.
Look away, my child.
There, in the away,
by the light of the sun just risen,
I see the day.
Take nothing with you, said He.
Nothing to encumber. Hands free.
Let me show you the Glory meant for you.
Just the two of us, here in the morning, on the mountain, around the lake.
What can I do in the face of a God who loves me like that?