Growing up in the South, we always referred to a slow rain as a sprinkling. Others called it a mist or a drizzle. Whatever you call it, it gets everything wet. If you watch the grass or a bed of flowers during a sprinkling, it seems like the flowers take on a different personality. And the grass seems to spring to attention as if the rain has somehow caused it to realize its full potential.
I love the rain. I love to listen to the rain.
When I was eight years old my grandparents lived in an old farm house surrounded by pecan trees and gnats. There were many afternoons when the sky produced clouds and an afternoon shower. After a shower the evening became muggy or cool, depending on the time of year. But one thing was certain at any time of year: the rain changed everything. There was nothing quite like sitting on my grandparents’ front porch in their old gray wooden swing, listening as the rain poured onto the tin roof. Years later, I still enjoy a good rain. Not the kind that comes with harsh winds, thunder, and lightning, but the gentle kind: sprinklings, afternoon showers.
Sometimes I experience an altogether different kind of rain. I can’t see it. I can’t touch it. I can’t smell it. But I can feel it. It permeates every nook and cranny of my being. I call it a holy rain. I don’t know why, really. I guess because the same God who causes the rain outside to fall also has something to do with this rain as well, and it feels very similar.
Have you ever been in the middle of a bad or difficult situation where you didn’t know what to do but then you felt calm around you? Have you ever experienced peace when your mind was in turmoil? I have, and it’s really much like the rain in a way. If you imagine peace falling just like the rain, all around, soaking your entire being, bringing gentle comfort and unexplainable peace, that’s the rain I’m talking about.
Growing up I used to hear people talk about God being right beside us. I wasn’t really sure what that meant. Fortunately, my son seemed to grasp it better than I did. When he was four years old, my wife told him that God is everywhere. A few nights later, he had her look under the bed to see if God was there. He was so certain that God was there that he expected my wife to find Him under the bed or behind the door.
Many religious groups have their gods in clear sight so they can touch and see them. But we pray to and worship one who we can’t see. We know, however, that when we pray or worship God, He smiles. There’s also a little scripture well hidden in Zephaniah 3:17 that says God rejoices over us with singing. That’s powerful. No other god makes that claim. The reality is He is always near us, longing for our conversation and worship. We need to have the ability, like my son, to feel certain at all times that God is right beside us.
When it rains these days I can’t help thinking that God is blessing the earth so that it may flourish. That is exactly what He does in our lives. He rains down grace, mercy, faithfulness, healing, or whatever blessing He sees that we need. He is a gracious God who loves us more than we could ever imagine. Regardless of the circumstance, time of day or year, there is always something to give God thanks and praise for. And it’s that belief, that awareness of His really being there, just as real as the rain, that allows His holy rain to soak our lives, helping us to reach our full potential.