When it Rains…
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Maria Drayton. Here is her last post if you missed it, “Wait on God.” Incredibly, Maria sent me this devotional right after the sudden loss of my grandmother when I really needed it. God is amazing.]
The forecast was seven days of rain with possible thunderstorms. I’m not a fan of rain. Though, I lived in Seattle for most of my life, where the forecast always seemed to be either overcast, cloudy or rain for most of the year. You might think that I would be used to it by now, I’m not. I love the summer, thrive in the sun and the warm summer nights. Even this winter tested me, the winter months seemed to never end and some days the high was only six degrees. But after many months I had hope, we had a couple of sunny days where the temperature reached 90 degrees and I was ecstatic. “It’s almost here!!!! Summer!!!” I thought to myself. If I could stay in summer forever, it would not be a bad thing. But it doesn’t, it can’t. In life we have similar seasons.
At one point in my life, I cried out to the Lord, “When will I get to have joy, peace and happiness? When will it be my turn?!” The rain never seemed to end, I felt like my life had been flooded. If you are going through your season of rain, be encouraged that it does not last forever. Solomon explains it perfectly in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” The sun will come out, you will persevere and come out stronger and wiser.
“These things I have spoken unto you, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33-NIV).
Rain is necessary. It’s necessary for growth. I wish I were exempt from pain, trials, suffering and the like, but I am not-we’re not. Matthew 5: 44-45 (NIV),
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.”
I remember one day when it rained so hard it poured in my life. I had just left one of my clients in route to another when my phone rang. I was finishing out my last week of my job and had just recently found a new job that required me to go to training in Chicago for a week. It was my uncle.
“When was the last time you talked to your dad?” he asked.
“Last week,” I responded.
“Well, he was found yesterday and he passed.”
It was like a ton of bricks falling on top of me all at once. I swerved to the side of the road and parked as he continued to talk. “We don’t know how he passed yet, but I just wanted to call and let you know.” I was devastated. All of a sudden the anxiety of a new job seemed nothing in comparison to my immediate loss. I thought back to the last time we spoke and I remember us laughing together and him giving me much needed advice, “pressure will burst any pipe, be careful you’re not stressing over things you can do nothing about.” Now my mind was swirling, trying to understand, trying to make sense of it, trying to cope with my new existence. I had already lost my mother a few years earlier, now my dad? That night I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, longing for one more conversation. My dad had lived in Chicago, so I hadn’t seen him since my last visit. I cried all night. I felt alone with no more parents in this world. Life always seemed to deal me the worst-case scenarios.
I called my new boss, as they had already bought my plane ticket to Chicago for training, but the funeral was in Mississippi the Sunday before training was to begin. I couldn’t figure it out, how was I going to go to a funeral and then a week of training? How was this even my current dilemma? The new job switched my flight to Mississippi a couple days before. All I had to do was buy the ticket from Mississippi to Chicago. They could not delay my training.
Two days later as I was cleaning my desk out at my job, my aunt called. “Your grandmother passed last night.”
“What?!” I exclaimed. “This can’t be real!”
I explained to her my dad had just died a couple days before. She explained that they would be having the funeral, Sunday of the following week, the week right before my training, the same day as my dad’s. I couldn’t understand.
“Now, I have to go to not one funeral but two on the same day?!”
My grandmother had lived in Mississippi as well. My faith had been shook. “Don’t you love me? Don’t you see what I’m already going through?” I had cried out to the Lord.
I went to both funerals that next Sunday and cried all day. I wondered to myself how a body could even hold so much water. The tears just kept flowing. I left the next day for training and arrived in Chicago where I had to push past my grief and focus on a new job. But constant reminders stayed in my suitcase- I had packed both Obituaries so my losses were on my mind the whole week. It was finally Friday and my training class had become new friends that supported me the whole week. But shock was all I experienced when the class was asked to share a memorable moment they had during training. A classmate explained, “One thing I learned this week was about life and persevering. Maria, to me, is the strongest person in this class, I can’t imagine losing my dad last week and then coming to training the whole week without being able to grieve. I admire Maria’s strength and learned from it.” I guess you never know who’s looking and how God uses us.
So, I’ve had my share of many years of rain in life with thunderstorms but I’ve come to understand that it’s necessary for my growth. Although seven days of rain is not a lot at all. It can make you tired, weary, and craving sun. Especially after a long winter. When the sun came I rejoiced, I was grateful, and I celebrated its arrival. Just like “life seasons”, I know they are not going to last forever- things will change.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV).
2 Corinthians 4: 17-18 (NIV), “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Maria Drayton, originally from Seattle, Washington is a graduate of Washington State University and has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism through the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications. Maria currently resides in Deptford, New Jersey with her husband and son. With a passion for the Lord, she desires to bring a young, fresh, new look into intimacy with the Lord. Purchase Maria’s newly released book, “The King and I: Steps for Living in Today’s World Through Intimacy with the Lord” on her website: www.mariadrayton.com !