"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9
I was dressed and ready to go. The bright, sunny day and I had a date. Who could ask for better weather on errand day? Not me! First, I’d stop by the store to purchase a couple new pairs of running shorts. Then, I’d stop by another store and purchase two new writing journals. Then, I’d stop by another store and purchase a cold pint of vegan, vanilla ice cream. Delicious! I’d made my list. But, while checking it twice, I heard a startling sound. Thunder!
“What?”, I exclaimed.
Suddenly, the powder blue sky turned ominous gray. Massive clouds eclipsed the radiant sun. Then, like adversarial missiles, raindrops exploded on the ground. They landed on tree leaves, cars of all colors, the mailbox, and rooftops. I generally don’t mind the rain except when it rains on my plans.
Has life ever rained on your plans? What about your party? Your parade?
Like me, you were dressed and ready to go. Perhaps not to the store, but to the school. Maybe not to the market, but to the altar. New city, new you. That was your motivating mantra. But then it started to rain, drenching your detailed hopes and nurtured dreams. For many, the year 2020 has felt like one extended exercise in dodging unsolicited showers. First, it was this. Then, it was that. Next, it was here. Then, it was there. Each leaving behind puddles of undiluted emotion. And so it is in this mysterion called life. Sometimes, it rains. And when it rains, it often pours.
Yet, there is no need to treat this truism with disdain and swallow it in disgust. For we can learn two, necessary lessons from rainy days.
1. When it rains, learn that plans are flexible.
Certain features of life are foreseeable. But, a great deal of life is unpredictable. Therefore, our plans must be flexible. This is one reason Jesus counsels us to "not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Elsewhere, the Bible says, "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:13-15).
One morning, one of my college professors said to my freshmen class, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” One mentor encouraged me to “plan my work and work my plan.” Yes, plans are essential. But, rainy days teach us that plans must be flexible.
2. When it rains, learn that rain is temporary.
Having grown up in Florida, I know a thing or two about rainy seasons. During this stretch of the year, it was not if it would rain, but when. Umbrellas rested in the rear, car window because you knew it could rain at any moment. Kudos to the meteorologists who did their best to help residents prepare. Still, even they were caught off guard from time-to-time. But, no matter how hard or long it rained, it was always temporary. It came to pass.
The Bible says, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). My friend, you may be soaked right now, but the rain will not last forever. How do I know? Stay tuned…
Happy Father’s Day,