It is often thought of as depressing.
But did you know the Bible often talks of rain as a good thing, a sign of God’s mercy?
Where you are when it’s raining can make a big difference in how you feel about the rain. If you’re standing in it while your love walks away from you into the night and melancholy musical scores fill the air, you may indeed view rain as depressing. But if you’re inside a cozy house snuggled up with your darling, listening to the rainfall outside while you sip hot tea, you may enjoy the rain. I confess there are few things I love more than lying awake at night listening to the sounds of rain on the roof while snuggling with my Joy. That’s what I did the other night: and it got me thinking.
As Christians, we believe God is ultimately the One who controls the weather. It was the stark reality of that truth which struck the disciples with dread when Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee.
Have you pondered what a good symbol rain is for Our Father’s gracious love?
Rain is a sign of God’s provision. The Bible is replete (which is a fun word we should use more often) with references to rain in this sense of a way God will bless His people. Jeremiah 14:22 is a great example.
“Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are you not he, O Lord our God?
We set our hope on you, for you do all these things.’”
In an agriculturally based society where rain is literally needed for food (whether from grazing beasts or growing crops), rain is a very practical sign of God’s blessing. It’s good for us 21st century “First Worlders” to remember as well. When you hear the rain, remember that God is faithfully showering his blessing on us in sustaining the world we live in. It’s amazing how constant His provision is in small ways that we take for granted so very often (and sometimes even complain about). Even when we don’t notice, our good, good Father provides for us.
Rain is relentless. This is another excellent way the rain symbolizes God’s blessing to us. He is relentless in His love, unceasing in His grace. Just like the rain falls when it falls for as long as it falls, whether we like it or not, so God provides for us according to His sovereign pleasure: when and how He pleases. And he often blesses us, in spite of us being stinkers (very much like we earthly daddies provide for our ornery kids both on the days we like them and on the days we don’t so much). That’s very happy news for guys like me, who are very often ornery stinkers.
Rain washes filth away. Speaking of being stinkers… Rain is an excellent metaphor for God’s grace through Christ, which washes away the filth of our sins. Like rain falling on the grimy streets of a midnight city and washing its schmoo down the gutters to make it look fresh and new in the morning, so God’s grace washes away even our foulest pasts and makes us new. Take heart, oh broken-hearted sinner, weeping in despair over the past: look to Christ! Say with David (after he was a murder and an adulterer) “wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” And remember his grace that washes you next time you hear His rain falling.
Rain is a sign of God’s common grace. God’s provision, in particular, the showers that bring life to the earth and renew it, are for everyone: his friends and his foes alike. In Jesus’ words, “For he [God] makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45b).
Marvel at God’s broad and universal goodness, sustaining people who love Him and people who don’t, year after year, day after day, for as long as the earth has existed.
Rain shows God sharing his person. Rain is a good metaphor for God sharing the most precious gift of all: his own person and all its glorious qualities.
“Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap steadfast love;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is the time to seek the Lord,
That he may come and rain righteousness upon you.”
Instead of depressing, it can be not only a good thing but an amazing reminder of the greatest thing.
God Himself is the greatest good, the highest good, by very definition. It’s a truth Old Anselm of Canterbury is famous for pointing out, and that I find myself very often winding back to in my ponderings. There is no better rain God could send us than a rain of His righteousness.
Next time you hear His rain hitting your windowpane pray earnestly for God’s Spirit to bless you with a deeper knowledge of Himself; to refresh your tired, world-worn heart with the relentless, cleansing rain of His glory; and to overwhelm you again with a rain of righteousness.