Ever try to wish away the rain? Say, rain of the “weather of life” kind? Like bad news, illness, injury, death, loss, betrayal, gossip, cranky kids, killer office politics, rejection, meddling in-laws, interpersonal conflict, insensitive spouse, consequences of poor decisions, etc, etc.
How do you respond when things get uncomfortable, painful? Are you a fight or flight person? I think there may be another option to fight or flight: play dead. Works for a variety of animals in the wild and I’ve seen some people convincingly drop dead when things get drizzley…
Anyway, always good to be aware of what your tendency is…helps you know what to look for when things suddenly move on you.
I could plop platitudes here, but think I’ll refrain…I might lose you. Oh, I can’t resist, here we go: “What would Jesus do?” (are you still here? hope so). I think about the times in the Bible when He faced rain, even hail storms and see that He responded differently to each situation. Is that crazy, or what? How are we supposed to know how to respond if He was all over the map?
Want some examples? How about the time when He was 12
yrs old and He stayed back from the family’s journey home and dear Joseph and Mary trekked back to Jerusalem and spend three days looking for Him…yes three days! Once they caught up with Him at the temple, I’m sure Mary had steam coming out of her ears when she said “Son, why have you done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” (Luke 2:48) Yep. I can see the pot boiling over in that one…a bit of a tight spot for any kid. His response? “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (2:49). Did you catch that? He threw it back at her…I know Jesus never sinned, but seriously, He had spunk. How about the time He faced Satan in the desert? He refuted Satan and his temptations with scripture and a keen awareness that Satan was trying to trick Him. He stuck like glue to what He knew to be true. Whoa, then (as I trek through Luke) I see that He says some inflammatory words to His hometown crowd in the synagogue–they are “filled with wrath” (4:28) and lead Him to a cliff to throw Him over. What does He do here? 4:30 says He passed through “the midst of them” and “went His way.” The time He hears that Lazarus is gravely ill He stays far away, does His thing and lets him die and be buried four days. When He gets there, what is His response? John 11:35 says “Jesus wept” (why He wept is up to interpretation, but we do know from personal experience, that weeping isn’t a sign that things are sunny). Well, then there is the well known instance of Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He knows what is coming down, and He sits tight and prayerfully waits.
So, lets see, in our incomplete meander through Jesus’ life, He faces rainy weather with spunk, memory verses, dismissal, tears, white knuckled prayer. Is there a common thread I’m missing? Hmmm…seems to me Jesus wasn’t tied to ‘shoulds’ or even religious societal norms… He didn’t even stoop to the basic instincts of fight, flight or play dead. No, I have a hunch that He was so caught up in His Father that He did what His Father asked, which, lets face it, was what was needed in each instance. In fact He says in John 5:19 “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”
Where does this leave us? Hmmm…I guess it depends on how caught up we are in God. Can we, like Jesus, discern what He is doing in every given downpour? Do we even check in to see what He might be saying? Ohh…I know it is tempting to spin into autopilot and react…I get that with a capital “G”. Do we have the kind of relationship with God where we stop, ask Him for direction and then listen for His answer before we respond? Might be worth a shot…what can it hurt? Well, I guess our ego could be bruised, we might be humbled in the process, “Minnesota nice” may need to be put aside for direct truth telling, we might need to extend a hand of mercy…hmmm…sounds like it could render an opportunity for God to be busy in us as He works through us…