Have you ever been caught out by an unexpected changed in the weather?
Last Friday was shaping up to be a real beaut of a day. I had had a few lectures in the morning and then was finished up with university for the weekend. And as I was walking out from the lecture theatre the sun was shining, it was quite warm and things were looking good for a weekend of great weather. And being the studious individual that I am, rather than going straight home, I decided I’d best go to the library for a while to revise seen as exams are rapidly approaching.
So after being all nerdy and spending my second consecutive Friday afternoon in the library (I really need to stop doing that!) where I had no windows to see what was happening outside I got packed up and ready to walk home in the sun.
So I got to the library door and discover that from nowhere it has started chucking down rain and hail. Absolutely pelting it down. At this stage I had a choice. I could stay in the library and hope that it passes. Or I could accept that I’m going to get soaked and walk out into it and embrace the rain. I hadn’t been expecting rain. I didn’t have a handy waterproof coat or umbrella to whip out. I was going to get soaked. Staying in the dry wouldn’t have helped me get home. The only way to get to where I wanted to be was to go through the unpleasantness of a walk in the rain. And as I was walking there were cars going past through huge puddles competing to see which of them could cause the biggest splash spray over me (I don’t have a verse to support this, but I’m fairly sure drivers would do that have a special place reserved for them near the hottest part of Hell…)
And as I was walking through the rain it struck me that often life was like that. You have to walk through the rain. You have to go through stuff that isn’t pleasant. Stuff you’d rather avoid. Circumstances you’d rather not have to put up with. And the thing is, God doesn’t promise that it will never rain on you. He doesn’t promise that following Him will make everything a bed of roses. (In fact, Jesus says that by following him we can expect our life to be served up with an extra helping of persecution and hardship from a world that is in rebellion against God “Since they persecuted Me, naturally they will persecute you” John 15:20). What He does promise, is that as we go through times of hardship, trouble or unpleasant circumstances, He will be with us. He will not abandon us. He will not let go of us.
Deuteronomy 31:8 says “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
In Isaiah 41:13 God says “For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’”
And in Romans 8:35-37 Paul reminds us of this great truth: Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
So if you are going through a rough period in your life right now, take comfort. If it seems to you that life is one continuous storm for you right now, take comfort. God has not abandoned you. He will not let you go. Victory is coming. But sometimes, we have to push through the rain. Sometimes, to get where we need to be, we have to get wet on the way. Sometimes unexpected circumstances crop up and disrupt our plans. Sometimes we have to put up with hardship. We aren’t promised an easy life. But we are promised that nothing will separate us from God’s love, and in all things we must cling to Him, trusting Him not just in the good, but the bad as well.