Seeing the Redeemer Through the Rain

by Vicki Johnson

Have you ever wondered about those people? You know, the ones who seem to get the blessing all the while they’re complaining and grumbling? I was thinking about this as I was doing housework on a rainy day. The verse from Matthew 5:45 that says,  “…He causes His sun to rise on {the} evil and {the} good, and sends rain on {the} righteous and {the} unrighteous.” Sun and rain, in their seasons are blessings. Some blessings, in various forms, are given to all simply because our good God has prescribed it. But sun and rain out of season can cause grief and pain. So, my thoughts, as they tend to do, wandered and paused on a book from the Old Testament: Job. If it EVER rained torrentially or scorched a person to the bone, it was Job.

Job was described as blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil and the greatest of all the men of the east. What a guy. He had numerous sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys. A host of servants.  Ten children whom he loved and prayed for continually. And one wife.

This blameless man was chosen to prove that God was worthy to be worshipped, even if all earthly blessings were stripped away. So it began. One by one, all he possessed and loved were taken away, eventually, even his health. Except for his wife.

Mrs. Job has only one thing to say to her hubby and she muffed it. “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” This woman, the mother of his children, also benefitted from Job’s wealth and prestige as his wife. But she also suffered the loss of her children as well as the rest of their earthly riches. Sun and rain for both.

Integrity is easy to hold on to when life’s good. It’s the testing of integrity that determines how deeply it goes. Though Job struggles to understand why he is suffering at every turn, yet he clings to the one absolute truth that keeps him drawing breath, “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God;” (Job 19:25-26) Job, because he is a righteous man, came to a point of humility saying, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)

Job’s intense suffering comes to an end. God restores his fortune twice fold. He father’s 10 children: seven boys and three beautiful girls. He lives another 140 years, seeing his sons and grandsons. No mention of a new wife, so Mrs. Job partakes of the restored blessing also. But, where is her proclamation of faith and confession? Her life had its ups and downs; sunshine and rain. But how did she fare in her relationship with the Lord? Her terse comment to her boil-ridden husband is the last we ever hear of her. Truly a sad and faithless epitaph to have on one’s gravestone.

On the other hand, Job’s righteous testimony and tenacious trust in God has stood the test of time and served as a beacon of hope to countless generations.  He understood that the sunshine and rain would cease; his security is founded on neither.  No, Job’s true hope and joy was anchored in the Lord of Life, his Redeemer through the rain.

Out of the Drought

by Sarah Langness

The sound of rain hitting the rooftops or windows used to be one of my favorite sounds.  Used to be is key in that statement. Those of you in the Beulah area know how endless the rain has seemed to be over the last couple of weeks. For those of you outside the area, I’ll simply say that in the past two weeks we have broken the previous record for spring rainfall. So, on those rare occasions, those brief days when the clouds vanish and the sun shines, Ezekiel and I spend every possible minute outside. On Saturday, after nearly two days of non-stop rain, we were strolling around the neighborhood after our morning walk. It was glorious: white fluffy clouds (not rain-producing ones), beautiful blue sky, and warm sunshine. As we passed one house, I noticed a lady outside watering her flowers. I shook my head, thinking how ridiculous that was given all the rain we’d had. But after a moment, her actions made me think.

There are times when I feel saturated in the Word of God. Times at camps, retreats, conferences, where I feel so refreshed, so renewed, so solid and so strong in my faith. Those time are wonderful. I love that feeling.

But let’s be honest: those feelings never last. I enter times of drought. Times when Scripture seems so dry, where I feel like I’ve heard it all, where I seem . . . stuck. Those times aren’t so wonderful; and unfortunately, they seem to happen more often than I’d like. I don’t like these feelings.

So when I saw that lady out watering her flowers, I thought about how I need continual nourishment. Daily waterings. Those “spiritual highs” aren’t enough to sustain me and won’t get me through the times of drought. What will get me through those times of drought is Him. Jesus. The Word. My Savior.

Thankfully my salvation is not dependent upon on how I feel about my current spiritual state. It’s all Him; it’s all His grace. But drawing near to Him is not going to happen on its own. As a checklist person, I’d like a list to follow; “Do a-b-c, and then you will feel closer to God today,” – but it doesn’t work like that.

So what am I going to do? I guess I’ll start praying – pray for a new heart, a new spirit, a renewed joy (Psalm 51:10-12). And seek Him. Seek Him diligently (2 Chronicles 16:11). Intentionally set aside that time (even if it’s on the toilet) to plunge into His Word for those few precious moments alone (because as a mom, sometimes those are my only moments alone!). Use that four mile walk to commune with Him (Mark 1:35). And looking back at that, it sure looks like an “a-b-c” list. But I hope and pray Jesus never becomes someone I simply check off on my to-do list.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8, NASB