Our home was built thirty years ago on the side of the mountain with a pretty good view of the valley floor below. For even more spectacular views, you have to hike a good distance higher up the mountain.
This evening my daughter and I decided to take a walk up the hill. The clouds were beautiful down in the valley, billowy and light grey, with a variation in colors and patterns that made us wish we had our sketchbooks in hand.
As we climbed the steepest streets, she would stop so we could turn and look out over the valley (and, I know, because she noticed my slowing pace and was giving me a rest) and each time we gazed down, the sky had changed. The clouds grew darker, and the shapes we saw in them grew ever more threatening. At one point, the large bank of clouds pushing across the sky looked like a huge serpent with its mouth open, ready to devour the mountainside.
All at once, we realized that those impressive clouds were headed our way – and they were dropping their heavy load quickly. We began to be pelted with oversized raindrops, and we hurried our pace. We considered waiting out the storm under the protection of a grove of trees, but realized that, judging from the size of the cloudbank we’d been observing, this wasn’t going to be a short-lived storm. We looked at each other, and my daughter said, “It’s really pretty refreshing . . . don’t you think?” I took her lead, and we decided to hurry on through the storm. The wind whipped up, driving the rain even harder, and within just a few minutes we were completely soaked. The thunder rumbled almost continually, and lightning flashed in the distance.
I had been thinking, “We’ll have to run to get home before the storm hits!” Then, as I realized that would be impossible, I had thought of how uncomfortable it was going to be to get wet, and wished we could stop and find protection, maybe hide in someone’s doorway. But, once my daughter suggested a different perspective, I realized I was looking at it all wrong. Here was an experience I rarely get – to be out in the driving rain after a hot summer afternoon, just letting the rain drench me, and to feel grateful for it. I remembered a movie I’d seen as a child about a town that had been in a drought for months, and when the rain finally came, the people went out and just stood in the rain and gave thanks. I felt something like that today. I was grateful for the rain that has kept our valley so green this year. I gave thanks for legs that have the strength to run through the rain, and for health that allows me to walk these hills. And I was grateful to have watched the powerful display of God’s hand as the storm passed over our part of His world.
Rain falls in every life. We all have challenges we wish we could choose out of. Sometimes we want to be protected from them, and hide from them. But today reminded me that sometimes the things we want most to be protected from are the very things that can bring a new perspective, and new growth, and a chance to see God’s hand in our lives.
So when you hear the thunder getting closer, don’t hide. Go stand outside – welcome the clouds as they get nearer – and let it rain!