It would have been a normal run … had it not been for the rain.
I’d pulled on my running shoes and left the house before anyone had awakened that morning. My husband and our sons were cozily tucked under their comforters unaware that morning had come. It was a hot, humid day and the sun was nowhere in sight. My upward gaze was met with dense, dark clouds that didn’t give the sun’s rays an ounce of mercy. I stretched quickly and started on my normal route through the neighborhood.
I enjoyed this path that led me in and out of familiar streets lined with aged trees and homes that were over two decades old. The neighborhood was settled, peaceful, and mature. When I turned that final corner leading to the back of the community, I noticed that the new road, paved to make room for new housing, was finally open.
I decided to take this new and unfamiliar path.
The trees had been torn down to make room for the cookie-cutter houses that would soon be erected in their places. The once forest-like area was bare and bland, giving me clear sight into the southern Texas sky. With no obstruction blocking my view, I could see the billowing clouds even more visibly now. The further south I looked, the more heavy and dark they appeared.
A storm was imminent.
Strange how this sight prompted me to pray; to ask God to allow His presence to rain in my life just as it appeared the rain would pour down on my neighborhood. My request was that His presence would hang low like these clouds – clearly, visibly, generously.
It was only a moment later, as if on cue, that the clouds in the darkened sky responded. They opened with shocking suddenness, and a torrent of rain pounded down to the earth. My simple T-shirt and thin running pants were no match for the droplets that fell like pellets of metal. Shocked, I stopped in my tracks, covered my head with my hands, turned around, and headed for the comfort and shelter of home. People that drove by on their way to work, looked out their rain-smattered windows with sullen faces; sorry for the poor girl stuck in the downpour.
My steady yet fairly slow pace quickened now. I was running full speed. I had to get home, back to the shelter that would shield me from this unexpected storm.
The Spirit spoke.
“Why are you running back home? Isn’t this exactly what you asked me for?”
We want God to move. We ask Him too. We pray with boldness that the windows of heaven will open, and He will display His glory and power to us and through us. We anxiously await His wonders in our everyday living, but when His move ends up moving us we aren’t too sure anymore. When He calls us down a path we’ve not traveled before, we become concerned and cautious. The new and unfamiliar route stretches our limited view of His majesty and breaks open the narrow boundaries of our religious habits and belief systems. His Spirit quickens our spirit to His fruit, His gifts, and His overwhelmingly abundant power available to us. We’ve not felt this before and we’re not sure we like it – especially when others are passing by, peering out from their own pious safe havens with sullen expressions that reveal the way they really feel about believers caught up in the surge of the unusual.
Yes, it’s easier – more comfortable – to remain in the safety of where we’ve always been.
When the heavens open and the rain of God’s presence and power rain down upon us, we’re shocked by the torrent of the unfamiliar. And so we run for cover—back home to the comfort zone that may have been what was been keeping us from really experiencing God in the first place.
This holiday season, as we celebrate the Son and all that He came to earth to give – ask Him to reveal Himself however he’d like to. Then expect Him to answer. And, when He does, don’t run back home—under the cover of comfort that blocks His rain from drenching you from top to bottom. Stand under the downpour and let it soak you from head to toe.
Lord, this Christmas let it rain…and give us the courage not to go home for the holidays. Enable us to stand under the open heaven with our arms open and faces upward as the drops of your greatness fall on us.