There is something about rain that, by the nature of its very being, makes it inherently controversial. Rain is the ultimate Goldilocks paradox – there is either too much or too little; never is there the right amount to satiate the naysayers.
In all honesty I have always prayed for rain.
I will be the first to admit that I have sent my fair share of prayers up to the Good Lord Above supporting one plight or the other; the need for a good hair day usually swaying my thought process towards a particular direction.
In high school, my prayers usually went up around 2pm from August through November – right when my coaches would decide whether or not we would have outdoor cross country practice. In hindsight this was the most ridiculous of prayers. Considering the entire sport takes place outside, I would have behooved myself to run over the actual terrain as often as possible.
But, as they say, hindsight is 20/20.
Nevertheless, if there was the smallest chance of rain in the forecast, I would pray my hardest and bargain with God – if He made it rain then I would clean my room, eat spinach the first time my mother asked, and not text boys past 10pm. Sometimes I got lucky (although I selectively kept up my end of the bargain) and other times I was stuck running in the sticky Georgia heat, sweating enough to make it appear that my prayers had been answered.
As I’ve grown older, and I’d like to think grown wiser, my prayers for rain have become more selective.
- I pray that the rain never makes it’s appearance between the hours of 3-7pm during the work week, as the entire city of Atlanta seems to forget how to drive when those glistening drops hit the asphalt of I-75.
- I pray for the rain to remain at bay when I’m going on a date so that the additional humidity doesn’t transform my naturally curly hair into what resembles an electrocuted poodle.
- I pray that it rains to break the oppressive summer heat and keeps the lake at full pool so I can continue my futile attempts at living up to my Mediterranean heritage and becoming even a slightly darker shade of pale.
My mother however, has always ask me if I have brought my umbrella when I pray for rain.
The first time she asked me I had simply stared. What on earth was she talking about?
She would then launch into what has become one of my favorite sermons;
A small town was suffering badly from a drought that had hindered the growth of the majority of their crops. The minister of the church called the town together to pray to God above to send them rain so that they could continue to thrive. When the community gathered, they were surprised when the minister arrived holding an umbrella.
“But minister, why do you have an umbrella? The forecast has no chance of rain,” the parishioners asked confused.
The minister smiled as he continued to walk into the church.
“Oh ye of little faith! Do you not believe that the Lord will provide for us? If you’re going to pray for rain then you better bring an umbrella.”
Your faith, she would remind me, has to be so deep that you know the Lord is going to answer your prayers, no matter how large and confusing they seem to be. You must come prepared for the lessons that He is going to bring into your life.
It is those prayers for change or understanding, those prayers for rain, that ultimately change you into the person you are meant to become.
Whether you’re praying for the rain to break the heat or you’re praying for the rain that will guide your steps into the untold future that the Lord has created, the fact remains that you’re still praying for rain, and you should never forget your umbrella.
I know I won’t.