Psalm 84:5-7 (NLT)
What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
“Be still sad heart and cease repining; behind the clouds the sun is shining, thy fate is the common fate of all, into each life a little rain must fall, some days must be dark and dreary.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poetic verse “into each life a little rain must fall” strikes a chord close to my heart today. I believe his statement to be true. However, what happens when it feels as though we are living in the days of Noah. Not the days before the rain came but during the torrential flood locked in an ark with a plethora of animals and family members for more than 40 days and nights. When Noah got off the boat, he got drunk and passed out. I am not exactly sure that I can blame him. It seems that our family has had more than its fair share of the “little rain” that is to fall in each life. The darkness and dreariness of our plight has drug on for what seems like forever. We are walking through the Valley of Weeping yet I am afraid to shed a single tear in fear that the overflowing abundance of sorrow and pain would overtake me and I would never stop crying again. The Lord has promised that our Valley of Weeping will become a refreshing spring. But as far as the eye can see, it’s still raining. I must walk through this valley to see the sunshine again. The Lord has promised to make me stronger so I am reaching out for Him with the hope that He will be on the other side of this valley. There is joy for those who find strength in the Lord for those who have set their minds on a pilgrimage. This is a pilgrimage. Though I forget where I am going sometimes in the chaos of uncertainty and overture that is our life. It is radically changing day by day and spinning completely out of our control. But the Lord has a handle on this because He is the One who has sent the rain into our life.
Genesis 9:12-14 (NLT)
Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds.”
During my first trip to Gainesville for our son’s initial cancer treatment, I blared the praise and worship music, prayed and dared my heart to give up on me. I had no idea what to expect or how long this journey would become, but I had hope in the Word that God had given me the night we first heard the terrible diagnosis of “I’m sorry but its cancer.” God told me that night to trust Him that our son would live and not die. I decided in that moment to take that Word from the mouth of Almighty God and grab hold of it. I etched it in my mind and wrote it across my heart. But now as I made my first pilgrimage across the state, my strength waning, knees weak and heart trembling – I cried out to my God. Along the way that day, I saw seven rainbows but there was not one drop of rain. Oh how I had hoped and believed that after his first treatment that we could put this all behind us and move on. But now three years later, I will soon leave again for Gainesville. I am still holding the Word of God for our son that he will live and not die. He is in his fourth relapse of cancer. He will soon be undergoing a bone marrow transplant of ridiculously high chemotherapy with a stem-cell recovery. It is very dangerous. Statistically his odds are equal but without it they are worse. All that I have as proof that our son will make it through this procedure and be healed of this horrible disease is God’s Promise that He made me that night – “our son will live and not die.” Seems flimsy at best when compared to the promise of mankind and a world with no guarantees. My faith in God’s Word keeps me alive. It allows me to live each day patiently waiting on His Word to come to pass. The rainbow is a symbol of God’s Covenant with all mankind. It is defined by His Grace that He will give us an opportunity to find our way home and receive the inheritance set aside for those He calls His Own.
Leviticus 26:3-5 (NLT)
“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.”
The Lord uses every single detail of our life for good. (Romans 8:28) No matter what you are going through a single moment is not wasted and the Lord collects every tear that is shed. (Psalm 56:8) God sends seasonal rain to produce His Promises in our life. With each storm come a rainbow declaring the Lord’s Faithfulness to His People once again. (Joel 2:23) Without rain, things will not grow. “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands” is extremely important. The seasonal rains of life will only produce what has been planted in your life. For example, if you have not planted seeds of righteousness you will not bear the fruit of righteousness which are the blessings and promises of God. In every season, we invest in the Kingdom of God by our faith demonstrated through obedience to God’s Word, Will and Way. In doing so, we continually are planting seeds for a harvest. When the rain comes, those things begin to produce an abundance of God’s Mercy, Love, Kindness, Goodness and Comfort in our life because He is bound by His Covenant with us. His Word is binding. God does not lie or change His Mind. (Numbers 23:19) When we allow our faith to become confident hope, we are able to stand in the rain. We can walk through the storm wrapped tightly in the Promise of God for our life.
Note that in Psalm 84 it calls this a pilgrimage when marks our path with purpose. We are going somewhere. We are making our way into the Presence of God by our faith in Jesus Christ. God allows rain to test our obedience so that we can discover any fallacy or inconsistency that is keeping us from what the Lord has for us. (Exodus 16:4) Rain reveals what is planted in our heart and will only reproduce its contents. (Hebrews 6:7-8) Those who know the Lord will understand that each season is part of His Prosperity process. They will wait for the harvest and not be lost in each storm. (Deuteronomy 28:11:13-14) What is God producing in our life? Grain (physical sustenance), new wine (the Holy Spirit’s anointing) and olive oil (God’s Power) are all part of what God is doing as He meets our natural needs and fills our spiritual voids. Into every life a little rain must fall, especially if you are after the Kingdom of God.
Deuteronomy 28:11-13 (NLT)
“The LORD will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. If you listen to these commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.”
Rain has a purpose in our life and is connected to God’s Covenant with His People. Outside of the Will of God, the rain only has a physical attribute as it falls on the righteous and the wicked. It is possible for people who do not know the Lord to prosper financially from God’s Seasons of life. However, our soul only prospers in covenant with the Lord. This is the type of abundance that produces joy, peace, and favor. God sends rains from His Treasury so it is beneficial. The absence of rain does not always point to disobedience. (I Kings 8:35-36) Just as living a storm-ravaged existence does not mean that God is mad at you. It all goes back to the contents of the human heart. Prosperity always beings in our soul. As our soul prospers, so should we. (3 John 1:2) We become consumed in physical prosperity so at times we forget the order of prosperity which is always soul first. But God!
Psalm 65:9-11 (NLT)
You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
There is purpose in every raindrop God sends in our life. It has a mandate to never return to Him void as His Word works its way through our life. (Isaiah 55:9-11) God’s Word is the rain of our soul. (Deuteronomy 32:1-3) The storms of life prepare us to receive God’s Abundance. It changes some things, removes other things. It will soothe the plowed ground or our life interrupted. It will melt the clods that have hardened our heart. It will level the ridges so our life lines up perfectly the Way it was designed to live in unison with Father, Son and Spirit. Abundant rain produces bountiful harvest to those who decide to sow the Word of God in their life and wait for the harvest to come. (Psalm 68:9-10) I am still waiting. But as I wait, I have noticed the Lord is producing spiritual fruit in me that will sustain my life forever as faith has become confident hope. (Psalm 104:13) It is the Fruit of God’s Labor as His Spirit begins to cultivate and harvest God’s Word in my life.
Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT)
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
When I opened my eyes this morning, my first thought was “Lord, it’s STILL raining!” Days turned to weeks have now become years and His Word has not come to pass. We have prospered spiritually like never before. The storm has stripped us of all pretenses as everything rides on hope now. The Lord has shown us His Mighty Hand of Power, Provision and Protection in this long journey that we are on. Yet there are still days that the Valley of Weeping is the shower where my tears mix with the falling water so no one can see that my heart is breaking inside me. Someone told me the other day as I was fighting back tears, “Maybe you need to cry!” I do when no one but the Lord is with me because I know that He will catch them. I wonder if that is how He makes the rain that shower our lives preparing us to receive His Goodness, Mercy and Love. With each new cloud, I am no longer afraid just determined. Storms reveal the foundation of our life. I am happy to report that when every other structure in my life has failed, my foundation of faith is firm in the Lord Jesus Christ. My hope is the anchor that has kept my soul safe as I wait for His Word to finish what it began in our life. I am happy to report that it is still raining. I am sad to report it is still raining. I get frustrated with the fact that it’s still raining. I find peace and hope in His Promises because it’s still raining!
James 5:7-8 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.