One night as my son was preparing to go to bed, I heard him listening to the children’s nursery rhyme “Rain, rain go away.” This song brought back many memories. As a youngster, I was always disappointed when the forecast predicted rain. I viewed rain as a liquid matter that destroyed—or at least altered—the many plans I had made. The rain had ruined many school recesses, family cookouts, parades, sports games, and the list could go on. Now the “rain” that destroys my plans has taken on a new form. As an adult, I’ve experienced troubles, setbacks, persecution, and trials. Just like rain, they all seem to hit me when I least expect them.
Today’s passage reminds us that rain is so much more than an unexpected deterrent. God sends rain as a reminder of God’s amazing grace.
The prophet Joel shares a word of hope with a group of people who have experienced an infestation of locusts. The insects flood their lives like the metaphorical rain that destroys our plans. But God sends physical rain with a promise of restoration: The wilderness will soon flow with green pastures, and the trees will overflow with fruit.
Joel calls the people to rejoice in the Lord, who sends us rain to demonstrate God’s faithfulness. The last thing the people of Israel want to experience is the dread of cloudy and rainy days. I’m sure they want to experience some beautiful days in the sun. But God uses rain to usher in hope and new life. The care and rain we receive enrich our soil and soul.
Today, be encouraged, whether you are faced with spiritual, physical, or mental rainy days. Know that it is God’s way of reminding you that a blessing is on the horizon.
Holy God, thank you for being the God who nourishes our soul and soil. Help us to embrace the rain as a reminder of your commitment to us. Amen.
The theme in the readings from the Hebrew scriptures is abundance. Joel speaks of the time of plenty in the land of Israel. This abundance is not only physical, for it includes a generous outpouring of the Spirit of God. The psalmist sings of abundant rains that allows the land to flourish. The hills, meadows, and valleys all sing praise to God. Second Timothy 4 contains the scriptural passage that brings us closest to the death of Paul. The apostle has been abandoned by many, but the Lord stands by him as he faces his likely imminent death. In the Gospel, Jesus warns us about the dangers of pride. The Pharisee in the parable thinks his personal goodness brings favor with God, but God desires a humble heart.
Read Joel 2:23-32. How has rain been a sign of God’s impending provision in your life?
Read Psalm 65. How has God’s forgiveness freed you to participate in creation’s joy?
Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18. When has God strengthened you in the face of evil?
Read Luke 18:9-14. What aspect of your life do you need to approach with renewed humility?
Respond by posting a prayer.