“When it rains, it pours.”
That old adage could point to goodness: a trickle of lucky breaks that have become a windfall, joy and hopefulness in abundance. Or it often indicates an unexpected deluge of work, of tasks to complete, of anxiety and fear, of sadness and desperation.
As I write this morning, I’m sitting by a window, looking out across my backyard. Saturated by rains that have fallen for days, I wonder what’s happening within that soaking ground. Are the seeds I’d planted receiving the nourishment they need to bear fertile fruit this spring? Will all this rain revitalize the brown spots in my lawn? Are there leaks in my roof or cracks in my foundation that will soon cause trouble under all these showers? Can I possibly anticipate where the mud piles will emerge in my yard, so I can avoid the inevitable slip and fall? Do I have the proper gear to stay dry for this rainy fall?
From my vantage point, it feels like we’re in a ‘when it rains, it pours’ season in our shared life together. The opportunities to dream about and plan for our future together are abundant: November’s mission and vision gatherings; next Wednesday’s first hearing of initial schematic design sketches; several church conferences to plan our budget and leadership for the coming year; coming weeks to focus on how we can align our rhythms and resources for God’s work of Love through First Baptist Church; the list goes on!
Abundant also are the anxieties we’re carrying and experiencing, both within and outside of the church. Worry about how we can get through the day, our debt, parenthood, a hard season at work, aging, aching division, an impending capital campaign. Fear that our family at home or at church could be the next victim of a senseless shooting. Sadness over that recent diagnosis, the daily tragedies that fill our airwaves, unrealized dreams and underutilized skills, the loss of our buildings and Children’s Center. Anger over challenging relationships, broken bureaucracies, injustice, misperceptions, even our local newspaper!
And yet, as silence settles into my usually-noisy home and quiet calms my perpetually-spinning mind, I sit and simply listen to the sound of that falling rain. Within the tension of these abundances and anxieties I feel, I find a deeper space to trust in an even-older adage: a promise from the God who covenanted with Noah never again to flood the world in anger, but instead assures us for generations to come through the words of the prophet Isaiah. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you… For I am the Lord your God.”
There, my worry over the proverbial cracks and leaks and mudslides gives way to hopeful curiosity about what nourishment will come from this deluge in the spring. For after the showers, flowers; after the flood, a rainbow; after death, resurrection!
Together in the work of Love,