I live in an area of California where drought is becoming more commonplace. A couple of years back, our well ran dry – the water table had dropped so low, due to lack of rain, that the pump could only bring up air! So, when the rain comes here, it is a welcome sight.
I was reminded this morning, however, as I read a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, that rainy days aren’t always so cheerful.
In his poem, The Rainy Day, he describes the day as “cold, dark, and dreary”, with the wind “never weary”, keeping the image of death alive as it continuously blows the dead leaves off of the trees. He then describes his life in this same manner. It really is quite depressing, this Rainy Day, and it gets even more miserable when he then talks about this dreariness being the fate of every human being:
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary
Trials and sorrows are guaranteed to be a part of every human life. It’s not a matter of if, but when the cold, dark, and dreary rain will fall! It will come into your life. It will come into mine. It will come into the lives of our loved ones and everyone whom God places upon our path. Oh, lovely rain!
Well, sisters, as painful as it is to hear, this is a truth that Jesus spoke about thousands of years before Longfellow ever set pen to paper. It is recorded for us in John 16:33b when He said,
“In this world you will have trouble.”
Yes, it’s a surety that some of our days will be marked by great tribulation, sadness, loss, and death. We will feel as if we are being enveloped by great clouds of darkness and tossed about by harsh winds that are continually at our face. We will grieve the loss of hopes, dreams, and expectations. As we scan the horizon, everything will look bleak, hopeless, and lifeless. We will wonder, “When is this storm ever going to pass?” “When will this darkness be lifted?” We will be tempted to question God and demand that He give us answers as we ask, “Why me?” “Why now?”
But, this must not be the time when we let ourselves fall into a pit of utter hopelessness and complete despair.
Instead, this is a time when we, like Longfellow (in the spirit of the Psalmist) must begin to speak truth into our lives and the lives of those whom God has given us to encourage, saying…
Be still, sad heart, and cease repining
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining!
Yes, we must remember that behind all of those dark clouds is THE SON,
and He tells us to…
take heart, because He has overcome the world! (John 16:33)
How do we take heart?
- Remember that there is nothing strange or unique about the trial you are going through – “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” (1 Peter 4:12, 13)
- Be both “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” (2 Corinthians 6:10)
- Know that Jesus understands our sorrows, so pray – “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15 ,16)
- Remember that God will work all of our sorrows for good – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)
- Be joyful, because God is at work to make you more like Christ! – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
- Remember that a day is coming when God will put an end to the “Rainy Day” forever – “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)