Praying for rain
Storms…can be cleansing in many ways. Here in Dallas and the surrounding area, we had been experiencing pretty intense heat without any rain. I was on my morning walk in the neighborhood and I saw a few clouds in the west. I said, ‘Lord, I’ve asked for things in the past and you’ve delivered so graciously. Is there a possibility that you could build this network of clouds into some rain as we really need it’. Please be careful what you ask for. During that night, we received approximately 5 inches of rain and it has continued periodically since then.
It was a major storm with lots of lightning. Puts a lot of nitrogen in the rain which really makes everything beautiful and green. The day before we had had our annual tree trimming. Lots of dead limbs cleared out as well as general trimming for healthy trees. After the storm, my yard was filled with numerous limbs of several sizes, some of which had been cut but were still in the trees. So, the storm and high winds had actually cleared our trees and finished the job.
Which started me thinking about our lives in Christ. When we trust him for our salvation, we are totally forgiven, but our lives start being transformed, cleansed. Sanctification is the process. We are being pruned and trimmed for fruitfulness. “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15.2). Many of the limbs in our trees were dead and of course, were not bearing any leaves. They had to be cut off. But there were also good limbs that needed to be pruned to create better light for the yard and so the tree would produce more limbs and grow. To be more fruitful.
Growing through hardships
And God also uses ‘storms’ in our lives to aid in our cleansing. If properly received, they are his instruments to further develop righteousness and usefulness for his kingdom. In the Bible, there are many times that God provided protection for his people from natural storms. While we still seek shelter from physical storms today, we can look at the scripture for encouraging words during the symbolic storms of our life. Times of grief and despair can be represented by storms as moments to endure until the sunny days of happiness and safety arrive. The Bible provides wisdom and guidance to get through the storms of our lives and follow the path of God through difficult times.
And one of the great promises of God is spoken and written by Peter for when you’re going through the storms of everyday life. “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (I Pet. 5.10). Do you see the emphasis in this? God himself, will do four things. All good! What an encouragement to endure, even prosper in the midst of trials. All can be used by God to do wonderful things in and through us.
And the way we secure this promise is also set out in scripture. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you” (I Pet. 5.6,7). Like Paul responded to God about not removing the thorn in his flesh, may we have the same mindset. God said his grace was sufficient for him. Paul then said—“therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (II Cor. 12. 9,10). Translation; “Bring on the storms!”