NOTE: From time to time I will post thoughts here for my children. Life tends to happens at a pace that doesn’t always permit me to share bits of wisdom that they would do well to hear. And they ‘re not always ready to hear it. By posting them here, I hope to gather a record of these thoughts that they can reflect on at some point in life when they have the time and passion to do so. They are not intended to be polished works. Just real. If others can be helped in some meager way, so be it.
Son, last night it rained. A lot. I mean it poured as I have seldom seen it do. There was very little wind, so the rain just kind of hung out. Imagine someone holding a gigantic shower head over our yard and dousing us steadily for about half an hour and you’ll get the idea. It was a lot of water just camped out. On top of us. A lot of thunder and lightning came with it. A lot. And yet because there was little wind, it had to be one of the calmest storms I have ever seen. I know you won’t remember any of it, because you and your brothers and sisters slept right through it. Mom and I were up. Watching. That’s what parents do, you know.
We saw the backyard turn into a broad sheet of water, sloping toward the creek like some shiny glacier. In the flashes of lightning that lit things up like a strobe light, we could make out the creek levels slowly rising toward the top of the bridges. Pixie Hollow seemed to turn into a shallow pool. And the water level in the pool itself was actually getting noticeably higher.
As I watched the downpour wash the sandbox, heard the raindrops pelting the roof so fast that it sounded like static on a radio, and felt the house shake with the random bursts of thunder, I thought of you. And me. I thought that you needed to know this: Often in life, you will need to let yourself be exposed to a downpour.
Our first reaction when it rains like this is to seek shelter. Usually, if you’re outside, that’s a great idea. But life can be a little different. Because this world is so heavily sin-stained and our own hearts so “desperately wicked,” we tend to accumulate dirt, the dust of life coats us just by getting up every day and going about our business. It happens so subtly that we usually don’t see it. It’s kind of like when I’m working on a garden project outside in the summer and stirring up a lot of dust. Often I don’t realize how much dust has coated the lenses of my glasses because I’m so focused on what I’m doing. I’m too close to the lenses to see what’s blocking my view. It’s kind of like that. Only when I take the time to take off the glasses and step back for a moment do I see the dust of life that had been keeping me from seeing reality clearly — and I didn’t even know it. Same with life.
Wisdom 101: Take the time to regularly step back and do some self-examination. Then intentionally expose yourself to a saturating downpour from God’s gracious hand. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the end thereof is the way of death.” (Proverbs 21:2)
The downpour may come primarily from His Spirit applying His Word to your heart. It may come from seeking a new perspective from a mentor or coach who will speak the truth in love. It may be that you just need to take time to get away with your wife to reacquire a Biblical perspective on your goals, your dreams, and your strengths. Don’t always dodge the raindrops, son. Sometimes a downpour is exactly what you need in life to restore your vision for faithful service to Christ, unhindered by the idolatrous baggage we accumulate along the way. Let it rain. Let it all wash away. Then start fresh, unencumbered by the petty fears, jealousies, and cares of this world.
When it’s over, be sure to hug your kids just a little bit tighter to let them know everything’s going to be just fine after the storm. And go ahead. Let them hop in your bed if they wake up early in the morning and tell you they’re scared. You know, like you did a few minutes ago.
Takeaway: Be intentional about creating opportunities for God to wash your life with a downpour of his gracious, cleansing rain. Trust me. You’ll need it.