For 18 March 2020: Fourth Wednesday of Lent
Read: Habakkuk 3:17-19
Grey. Rainy. Again. This is how the day began. It seems so fitting as we all learn new ways of being during this time of self-quarantine, social distancing, and refraining from gathering. Our normal social patterns have been altered. Students aren’t in school. Parents are working from home. Office buildings are nearly empty. There is a seemingly unending fearful panic over basics from the grocery. A grey, rainy day seems fitting for the circumstances.
About thirty-six hours ago, our bishop, Bishop Dyck, asked what Scriptures were inspiring us? Where are we, pastors and leaders in our conference, turning right now for guidance and comfort in the Scriptures? I responded with the passage from Habakkuk. It is a prophetic word calling us to a joyful embrace of faith. In the face of all adversity, we are called to remain faithful and joyful.
This rain which is falling will water the earth. Flowers will bloom soon. Trees are awakening from the winter slumber. Bees and birds are already on the wing. Even though we are living in these days of distancing ourselves from one another, our lives are continuing too. Even when the skies are grey and rainy, God is still providing for us. Without the rain, the flowers yet to bloom and the crops yet to be grown in garden and field will not happen. Yes, it is grey and rainy, but it is part of how God provides for us. Maybe a grey day isn’t so bad then.
The prophetic call of Habakkuk reminds us that no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves, ours is to be a joyful faith. Ours is a faith which dances on the hills even though there is, seemingly, no reason to celebrate. We recognize that even in the most difficult and dire of circumstance, God is with us. God is blessing us. The day may be grey and rainy, but it is a blessing. Those rains will help to bring the abundance God is preparing for us.
How can we be joyful on a grey and rainy day? How can we not be? Rain is the promise of God’s abundance being prepared for us! For me, knowing God is preparing to bless me abundantly is reason enough for joy! The rain actually excites me a bit; I think that’s the farmer in me. What amazing is God preparing for me, for us, now? Will the flowers be particularly lush? Will the fruit be particularly sweet? Will the fields be particularly abundant? God knows what is being prepared. All I can do is wait faithfully for God’s abundance to unfold.
Grey, rainy days are an invitation. They are an invitation to see God even in the grey and rainy. They are invitations to see both the blessing of today, and the promise of tomorrow. The invitation is to look with the eyes of faith. When I look beyond the confines of the front porch this morning, I see the promise of abundance. Tulips are pushing through the ground. Leaves are about to burst open. Children are laughing and playing across the street. Bird songs can even be heard in the rainy, grey silence. All these small things are invitations to see God’s abundance and the abundance God is preparing for us. It may be grey and rainy today, but it is as much a day of celebration and promise as are days full of sunshine. Where are you seeing God today?