SPRING RAIN 4-2-17
April 2, 2017
As the old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers”. And oh how we love the flowers in May, but we aren’t nearly as thrilled about the showers in April. As a child we would repeat, “Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day” because we would want to go outside and play, but instead we were stuck indoors. Even as I was writing this message on a Saturday morning, I looked outside the window and the rain was coming down. It was my only day of the week to go on a long run down the trail, and it was raining. Even if it stopped right now, the trail would be wet and muddy and full of puddles. We know we need the rain, but we always wish it would fall only in the middle of the night, while we are asleep, and it wouldn’t disrupt our days, or ruin our weekend plans. Ball games and drag races get rained out. Trips to the beach or our favorite campsite get postponed. Why, we might actually end up going to church instead…
Oftentimes in the Old Testament, God would use just the opposite method to call His people back to Him. When He was displeased with Israel because they had drifted back into idolatry and old sins, he would cause a drought and withhold the rain (Jeremiah 3 and 14). And yet as soon as they would repent and turn back to the Lord, he would open up the heavens and the rain would fall and replenish the dry, barren land. Spring rains were considered a blessing, as they would cause the seed that was planted to sprout and grow. Just as Corky has planted grass seed in the church lot, and without rain we will never be able to permeate the air with the scent of freshly mowed grass, and instead will have nothing more than cracked dirt filled with dry seed.
But the Spring rain has an even deeper meaning in the Bible. It speaks about both the Spring rain and the Autumn rain, also referred to as the early rain and the latter rain, with the hot, dry months of Summer in between. The Spring rain is a metaphor for the Holy Spirit as it was poured out on the early church. Without the Holy Spirit the seed of the Word would never have sprouted, or taken root and grown. But with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it did indeed sprout, and grow, and thrive despite all adversity. The first Christians were alive and vibrant and their underground roots spread far and wide, filling town after town, and country after country with the sweet scent of the love of Christ, his forgiveness and the promise of eternal life to all who put their faith in Him.
Yet now too many churches are languishing as during the hot, dry months of Summer; no longer green, their roots shriveling, and the soil around them cracking from drought. They have not only ceased from spreading - they are dying. They need rain. They need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, when the latter rain falls in the autumn of the age before Christ returns, there will be another major Pentecost of sorts; a rain that fill overflow the hearts of the Christians during the last days, and once again they will be unstoppable in the face of persecution and every sort of adversity. Looking at the ‘weather radar’ in the Bible, many modern prophets have come to the conclusion that we are already on the crest of this. As Satan desperately attempts to advance his kingdom knowing his days are numbered, we as Christians need the power of the Holy Spirit within to lift up the Word of God to world that is parched and dry, and thirsting for the love of Christ.
And so, instead of complaining about the rain, pray for it! Pray that the Holy Spirit would rain down upon us. Let Him wash away the cares of the world and all its sins, renew your souls, refresh your hearts. Let our roots run deep, and our growth be strong. Let it heal our divisions, drive away our worry, our doubt, and our despair.
Do you remember the words to a famous song by Gene Kelly, “Singin’ in the Rain”?
I'm singin' in the rain, Just singin' in the rain
What a glorious feelin', I'm happy again.
I'm laughing at clouds, so dark up above.
The sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love.
Yes, if God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is in your heart, you are ready to love others. And you can laugh at the clouds so dark up above, for as the apostle John said, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5). So let us soak up rain, and shine a light for all the world to see! Amen.
I asked each of the children how they felt about rain. (The photo is Max's response!). But then I asked them what would happen if it NEVER rained? They reflected on how the plants would dry up, the trees die, and the farmer's crops wouldn't grow. They even thought far enough ahead to realize that no crops means no food, and no food means animals and people die. One bright girl even said there would be no oxygen, because there would be no trees! Smart kids...