When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! (Psalm 84:6)
Sunday morning slid into consciousness. Normally summer mornings dawn bright, clear, and harsh in our bedroom. Normally I am slammed into wakefulness! Our bedroom windows face the morning sun. By 6:30 or so, our room is warming up in the sun and light is pouring in around the curtains — but not this morning. I had slept hard and awakened confused. It should be blazing light by now. I dragged myself out of bed and checked the time — 7:10. What was going on?
I went outside to get the paper. The sky was cloudy and dark. The grass and sidewalks were wet. Water slid off the orange plastic newspaper cover and pattered on my feet. The street was "puddled up" in all the low spots. It had rained early this morning!
Now if you are from Oregon, or some other climate where you are blessed with an abundance of rain, you can't understand. This is West Texas. This is July. There was no rain in the forecast. There is no rain in your expectation. There is just blazing sun ... unbelievably hot days ... water rationing ... and crunchy, dying grass. Today was an unexpected grace. Today was a rain of grace. And while we didn't receive an abundance of rain, the temperature never cracked the 90 degree mark and the clouds hung around all day with a gentle breeze out of the north. No one had expected, predicted, or forecast it. Sunday was a day of grace!
I don't know about you, but many folks I know need such a day. Not just a rain of grace from the weather, but a day of grace in the middle of boredom, ruts, and routines. Even more, many need a day of grace to help them through their times of suffering, toil, hardship, worry, and stress of long-term illnesses, care-giving, bad jobs, hard family situations, persistent unemployment, or depression. These folks — maybe even many of "we folks" — need a rain of grace.
So I want to challenge you this week to do two things.
First, spend this week looking for touches of unexpected grace in your life. God frequently sends them. We often overlook them because we are looking for big "floods of grace." Instead, or maybe even in addition, God sends us many of these gentle little showers of unexpected grace and we miss them because we are greedily looking for the flood! Recognize that these unexpected little rains of grace are touches of love from the Father. Praise him and thank him for the surprise, the blessing, and the refreshment they bring. As we begin to notice them, we will find more and more of them in our lives that we have been overlooking.
Second, rather than just praying for the big, huge, gigantic answers to prayers for people who are struggling, let's also pray for a little rain of grace in their lives. Pray for them to have a good night's rest. Pray for them to find an unexpected gift or blessing. Pray for them to receive an unexpected bit of good news. Pray for them to win a little victory in their ongoing fight with what they are facing. We are not giving up on the huge prayer request for God to heal, deliver, restore, find a great job, or do other "big things" these folks need. Instead, we recognize that a lot of life happens while waiting for God's floods of grace in answer to our prayers. Most folks need a little rain of grace here and there to make it through the monotony of the daily grind. Let's ask God to bless them in this way.
In a parched and weary season, an unexpected rain of grace is such a treat. In a parched and weary heart, an unexpected blessing from the Lord goes a long way to helping folks keep on keeping on. Let's pray for a little rain of grace!