Show Me a Sign

Rain all through the night,” announced the man on the radio.

I welcomed the winter rain. We need the water. But most folks across the country are ready for Spring. They’re sick of snow. And who can blame them?

Sometimes we need a change.

Perhaps it’s not the weather. Financial hardship, marital problems, rebellious teens, ill health, or a tedious job will stretch our patience thin.

We pray, but nothing changes.

So we hunker down and wait for the season, or storm, to pass.

When I’m overwhelmed by duties or sorrows, searching for answers, I’m prone to act like Gideon (Judges 6-9). I want assurance that God is present and has a plan.

Show me a sign, Lord.    

That was my exact prayer when a three-day rainstorm paused, and the sun broke through the clouds like a welcomed guest. Enjoying the calm before another storm, I walked to my mailbox and found a package. Inside the package was a slim metal bracelet that I had ordered eight weeks earlier.

A package long overdue, but not really because ….

God’s timing is perfect.

A smile spread across my face as I read the tiny, engraved words on my bracelet.

Abide in Me

Not exactly the answer I was looking for that blustery day, but I knew it was a sign from above. Circumstances change, but God’s response remains the same.

Abide in Me

Abiding is that sweet union which allows believers to experience uninterrupted fellowship with Jesus. When we abide in Him, not only can we rest and experience peace, Jesus says we will bear much fruit and have joy (John 15).

When we abide in Christ, our eyes are fixed on Him and not our circumstances. We lean on Christ, and not ourselves.

As storm clouds gathered on the horizon that day, I ran my fingers over the bracelet. Three words once spoken by Jesus were now etched upon my heart, wrapped around my wrist.

Abide in Me

Today and every day…..even in this storm.

Photo of Bird: Molly Smith Detweiler 

Thunderstorm: Karen Foster

Rain Makes the People Grow

A blue sky and the chatter of yellow finches clinging to the tube feeder beneath my Oak tree beckons me. Come out and play.

However, blue skies can be deceiving in the winter. I open the front door and poke my head outside to test the temperature. The weatherman’s forecast was right. It’s unseasonably warm. I roll up my long sleeves. Grab a rake. But first, I stand still like the Tin Man from Oz and soak up the sunshine as though it were oil lubricating my stiff joints.

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Then I rake the blanket of dry, brown pine needles off my Vinca plants. As sunlight touches the Vinca’s trailing stems, they seem to yawn and stretch skyward. Their miniature buds ready to burst into purple flowers.

Can this really be January?

Some folks may be envious especially if they’re shoveling snow. But as much as I love the sunshine, I’m praying for rain. Plants droop, waiting for a heavenly drink. Without rain, or snow in the mountains, the cost won’t be worth this week’s winter warmth.

I rake sharp needles into piles and look for a God lesson even in this glorious Spring-like day. And He shows me how often I pray for perfect days.

No problems to solve, nothing to fix. Health, wealth, and happiness. Isn’t that what people long for? Heaven on earth?

But I’m no different than trees and grass. I need grey, wet days to grow and thrive. Left to my own self-protection, and idea of perfection, my character stagnates. As a believer, how can I grow more into the likeness of Christ if I cling to the sunshine and avoid the storms?

“Rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance develops maturity of character.” (Romans 5:3, 4)

A pastor said, “When I pray for a good day, am I asking for a day that’s problem-free so I don’t need to rely on the Lord?”

I don’t have to be a weatherman to forecast my actions. I know I don’t pray as fervently when I’m on a vacation from my problems. I’m content to sail my own ship. Be captain of my soul.

Do I want to grow in Christ, and have my character be more like Him? Then I must stop being a fair-weather friend.

And rejoice even in the rain.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

IMG_4473After two days of summer rain, the morning sun reappeared, chasing away the grey.

Birds came out of hiding. I watch them soar and dip through the clean air, chasing one another like children playing tag before landing on the bird feeder to holler, “Safe!”

Raindrops, glistening in the sun, cling to the emerald blades’ of grass and evergreen bushes. And the colors in my yard—green, fuchsia, and coral—are more brilliant after the cleansing rain.

On this blessed morn, I saturate my senses. And praise God for the drenched earth that was parched a few days earlier.  For it is the Lord who “brings the rain on the just and the unjust.”

 With a full heart, I open my Bible and turn its dog-eared pages until I find this scripture:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and breads to the eater;

 So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:9-11)

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Like Moses, I  too have longed to see God’s glory.

But on this summer morning, His glory surrounds me, reflected in His creation.

How I long to linger in God’s presence, soak in His Word, but I have an appointment. At the risk of being late, I grab another morsel of scripture and trust God to accomplish what He desires.

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” (Is 55:2)

I listen.

I eat.

I delight myself in abundance.

Until I have no choice, but to rush out the door with dishes in the sink, towels that need folding. Chores left unfinished goes against my grain, my task-oriented brain. But the dishes and towels can wait.

I chose what is better, and it will not be taken away from me.

I am satisfied.

And I am ready to face the day.

“For you will go out with joy, And be lead forth with peace” (Is. 55:12).