There are rainy days.
When I was in high school, I went on a mission trip to Mexico. We were building homes for needy families in Progresso, Mexico. Progresso is down in the valley near Brownsville, TX, where it sits on the border. We would sleep at night in the States and cross the border every morning to build homes for the poor because there weren't any reasonable places for us to stay in town. It’s the worst poverty I have ever seen. People living in huts along a sewage drain. Building homes for them was a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of need they had. One day in particular, I was working with my friend, Baker, as it started to rain; we knew it would delay our work. We prayed and asked God to stop the rain. For some reason, God answered that prayer. Maybe it’s because God saw the need and responded to the people. Maybe, some would say, it was coincidence but I knew better. Maybe it was Baker’s special prayers. He was one of those kids that had something unique with God; we all felt a twinge of mystery around him.
But all I know is the rain stopped.
There have been plenty of times I’ve prayed for the rain to stop since then and God hasn’t answered. Storms of life that I wanted Jesus to say, “Peace. Be Still.” Circumstances that didn’t go my way. When you are young and see God come through, it’s so easy to believe God will do it again. But as we continue through the seasons of life and God seemingly doesn’t answer one prayer after another, our passion which once burned vibrant with color becomes dull over time. It’s only natural that we stop believing, stop asking and worst of all, stop praying.
That special kid, Baker, was a cancer survivor. God had answered the prayers of many and healed him. He was such a light to us all. Yet years later, his cancer returned and that time, we didn’t get the victory we so aggressively prayed for. Not all rainy days stop because of a prayer.
Perhaps this is the most haunting reality for us as believers in Jesus. We know God CAN, but we always question WILL He? As our expectations are continually disappointed, we slowly slip into unbelief. We can’t deny nature or God around us. We still believe in the cloud of witnesses and the pearly gates. But our purpose on earth carries less importance, our days have less significance, and our prayers are empty of power.
When we respond this way, we fall prey to the enemy’s wiles. He weakens us by using our own immaturity against us. His tactic is always to get us to focus on the wrong thing. We spend so much time concerned about the outcomes and circumstances of life. Sometimes interpreting our loss, our hurts, our failures as if God isn’t with us. Yet God doesn’t promise us life without loss, hurt or failure. But He does promise to always be with us, even to the end of the age.
“When I was a child, I walked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (I Cor 13: 11-13).
I may not always be able to fully see and understand what God is doing. I’m well acquainted with pain and loss and wondering why. But what this scripture tells me is that my answered prayers aren’t what is stored up in heaven. My faith, hope and love when praying those prayers, when walking out tough situations in life, that is what remains.
My friends, it may have been raining for 2,555 days. Every day, you have prayed and asked God to stop the rain. But what if today is the day that heaven agrees with your prayer?!? What if today is the end of the 7 year season that you couldn’t see until now? Today starts Day One of no rain. But you stopped praying.
I know it’s so much harder than it sounds. But your greatest power as a believer, your greatest reward in heaven, is to continue to have faith, hope and love even though the lightning flashes, the thunder roars and the rain falls.
About Heather Fitzgerald
Left-Brained Phlegmatic. Refined and Easy Going. Responsible Procrastinator. Spend my days: business owner, church elder, daughter, wife, and mother of 3. Heart on fire: to lead, inspire, teach and give. Heather-a flower that blooms in rocky places.