Pastoral Pondering

We had cleaned out our gutters just in time for the deluge of rain recently, but during one particularly heavy downpour the sheets of rain overflowed the gutters anyway. Even our dog quickly returned to his doghouse when he attempted to run up to the gate and bark at someone and felt the heavy rain on his back. I confess I laughed as he tried to duck out of the way of the rain heading back to his doghouse, his bark now just a frustrated muttering. Sometimes rain can frustrate our plans and leave us muttering.

But as I thought about this, I remembered a Bible verse that uses rain as a metaphor describing how God comes to us: “Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:3 NIV)

I’m sure if Hosea lived in the Northwest he would have simply said “like the rains” and not try to distinguish specific seasons — for we all know we have two seasons: the rainy season and the other few days. Many of us have grown accustomed to this and have adjusted our lives accordingly.

So how does someone adjust their life and effectively respond to God’s “rain”? Do I turn my spiritual umbrella upside down to catch it? Perhaps it’s simpler than that. I believe it’s a choice to receive it. I can choose to try to duck out of the way, muttering, or I can choose to receive it, allowing God’s living water to soften my heart and even change my life. Jesus explained this to a woman he met at a well:

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10-14 NIV)

The living water of Jesus is simply his power through his spirit to bring transformation, fulfilling our thirst for meaning and purpose, and creating within us capacity to receive his love. It might even transform our muttered doghouse “bark” into a joyous sound ... perhaps even a song. I personally would love to hear us whistle this tune down our rainy streets as he comes to us in these days with living water:

“I’m singing in the rain. Just singing in the rain. What a glorious feelin’ — I’m happy again. I’m laughing at clouds, so dark up above. The sun’s in my heart and I’m ready for love. Let the stormy clouds chase everyone from the place. Come on with the rain. I’ve a smile on my face. I walk down the lane with a happy refrain. Just singin,’ singin’ in the rain!”

The Rev. Diana Endicott is a Free Methodist pastor and ministers as an on-call chaplain at Providence Newberg Medical Center

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