I can count a million times that people have asked me how I can praise You with all that I've gone through. The question just amazes me! Can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You?
Maybe since my life was changed - long before any rainy days - it's never really ever crossed my mind to turn my back on you, my Lord... my only shelter from the storm. Instead I try to draw closer to You through these times. I am yours regardless of the clouds that may loom above because you are much greater than my pain. You who made a way for me, suffering Your destiny. I mean... whats a little rain?
So I pray: Bring me joy, bring me peace. Bring the chance to be free. Yes - please bring me these. Bring me anything that brings You glory! Still - I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain. But if that's what it takes to praise You... Jesus, bring the rain. Bring me anything that brings You glory.
You know - my experience doesn't always match what's above. I wish it did.
There have been a million ways I've said, "Bring the rain." I have to admit - there was a time just about three years ago, when it sounded a lot more like... "OK big shot! You think you're so good? You think You've got everything under control? Tell you what! BRING IT ON! I DARE YOU!!!"
I know... not an attitude that one would imagine from someone who's about to enter the seminary, huh? Thing was... at the time, that's how I felt. When I looked around - from the middle of the storm - well, it seemed like God was hurting so many people that I loved. Seemed like He wasn't doing anything to help them. Seemed like He wasn't doing such a good job of loving this creation of His.
And in all my arrogance - I stood on the edge of my existence and consciousness and said "Bring it on!" I was ready for a noon-day showdown with God. In my arrogance, I wanted Him to come account for Himself.
I don't know how this works out theologically... all I know is my experience. Something miraculous happened when I let God into the place where I really was... when I shared with Him all that I was thinking and feeling... even the parts that weren't "a good little boy" thinking in "all the right ways". God did come. Right there. To all those places of dark, and doubt, and pain, and struggle. Right there - where all the anger and frustration toward Him was living. Right there - where I was wandering in the storm... lost, and cold, and afraid. Right there. When I came before God and took off all the masks, stopped "performing", and just 'was' - God loved me.
The "letter" at the top of this post isn't my writing. You might have guessed it - its the lyrics to a song. Sometimes, as I've shared before, a song captures all that's in my heart better than I can. (Just click the image below to play the song.)
The song is beautiful. They lyrics are beautiful. They bring me tears - of joy, of humility, of love. They capture what I want to be my posture toward God. And - I've found that since that time I dared to say "Bring it on..." - well, I've found that since then, my heart is closer to seeing and feeling a different way of saying "Bring the rain." It's no longer a challenge - no longer from a place or arrogance. Today, its from a place of love. Today, I say (as best I can) - bring me joy, bring me peace. Bring the chance to be free. I know there will be days when this life brings me pain - and when that's what it takes to praise You... oh Jesus... bring the rain.