The Presence of Rain

A long, long time ago, Angie Smith told a story that stuck with me. It was in the aftermath of her sweet Audrey’s death, and she mentioned that she recognized ringing church bells as a reminder of God’s presence. They seemed to ring at random times, just when she needed them, and she took it as a gentle reminder from God. “I’m still here.”

That story stuck with me, and a few weeks later, I decided that for me, rain is the thing. I don’t recall the exact timing and what was happening in my life at the time, but I needed God to show up, and it rained. Since then, I’ve noticed the rain on days I need it most. I think it’s Jesus, with His gentle hand on my shoulder.

“I’m still here.”

It’s ironic, I suppose, considering God used rain to annihilate almost every living creature at one point. (Why, again, have we turned Noah’s ark into a warm and fuzzy children’s story?) It was when the rain dissipated that Noah and His family received their promise of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and constant presence. Still, I have always loved the rain, and in a turn of God’s redemption, we need it. We need it for refreshment, rejuvenation, and growth.

Last winter, I was driving home from work on the day our former pastor passed away. I was more angry with God than I had ever been before, and though I looked, I could not find the evidence of His goodness in that situation. For the first time in my life, I found myself asking, “Are you actually even here right now? What were You thinking? Where is the redemption You’ve promised, in this?” I drove home the back way, winding through a neighborhood, and slowly yet all at once, there it was: the rain. It wasn’t enough to warrant turning on my windshield wipers, and it didn’t answer all my questions, but it followed me all the way home.

“I’m still here.”

Yesterday was one of the most refreshing days I can remember in a long while. I know that staycations tend to get a bad wrap, but we should give them more credit. Yesterday was wonderful, and just what my soul needed. And as I left Starbucks in the afternoon, there it was again.

Here in central Florida, I think it rained, quite literally, every single day in September. (My husband just informed me that we had 4 days this month without rain. Four.) Our backyard is completely covered with the leaves and branches that fall from our oak tree during every storm. Our ceiling started leaking, along with a few windows, as if our entire townhouse suddenly decided, “That’s it! I’ve had enough of the rain. I give up!” Somewhere along the way, the rain just faded into the background, and I stopped noticing it, except that yet again, I noticed my damp window sills and pant hem.

I know that it is Florida, and I shouldn’t be surprised by the rain. You can set your watch by the summertime thunderstorms, I know. But it never gets old for me.

It want Jesus’ presence in my life to be like the rain: arriving like clockwork, steady and constant, continually seeping in from everywhere. I don’t want to be surprised by it, but I don’t want to be immune to it either. I want His presence to be, not an undercurrent, but a backdrop, against which everything else shines more clearly, wet and dewy, always reminding me.

“I’m still here.”


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