LEARNING TO DANCE IN THE RAIN

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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2 Corinthians 11:23Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

No doubt Paul learned to dance in the rains, rather the trials of his faith.

LIFE HAS MANY STORMS

I rather like the caption above and its saying. I remember as a young boy I loved playing in the rain. And of course as I got older that became a short-lived experience. Now when it rains I run and then it’s every man for himself.

Interestingly enough life is filled with many storms. We all go through them at different times and to different degrees for various reasons. Some storms are so threatening and seem so unbearable. But Christ our Savior always travels with us through those storms. Typically He can be found resting in the bottom of the ship while we stand on the decks being pounded and beaten by the fierceness of the storm, wondering and worrying if we are ever going to get through it.

I have a nephew that once took a job on a fishing vessel that fished out on the Bering Sea. On TV I have watched fishermen out on that Sea and thought to myself what a fearful and dangerous job to have, never knowing from day-to-day if you would live to see tomorrow. The storms that we face as a child of God will rage at times with such fury that we fear for our lives and well-being and we cry out Lord, save us: we perish. (Matthew 8:25) Some brothers and sisters are caught up in some storms that carry on throughout their lifetimes, yet they seem to possess a spirit about them of joy and calm that goes beyond the voice of reason and understanding with many of us. Why is that? It’s because they aren’t waiting for the storm to pass, rather they are learning to dance in the rains just like the caption says. While storms can at times bring about some great destructive forces they can for the most part bring some good as well. When our lawns turn brown and the ground is dried out, a three-day steady rain can be a welcoming friend. But when we face months of no rain then all of a sudden we get these horrific down pours that bring on flash floods and devastating ruin and destruction we head for higher ground. That is what the Lord wants from us. When we go through those days of trial and hardship He wants us to look to Him as our refuge on high ground. But what about seeking His wisdom and direction long before the storm comes; wouldn’t that be much better? How sad even as parents that it takes a storm in our children’s lives sometimes before they cry out to us. Yet we are always ready to listen and help. Lord please forgive us for ignoring you until we are in the midst of trouble. Help us to be more open to fellowshipping with you on calm seas and daily seeking the direction that we need for our lives.

WHY DO WE FACE SO MANY STORMS

So why do we have all of these storms. What is behind it all? Some storms come along to give us that necessary spurt of growth where we are lacking in faith. Some storms come about so that we learn to glorify God thanking Him for His wonder, power and holiness. Some storms come to rid us of all the clutter of worldliness so that we can come to Christ seeking His best for our lives. I am reminded of a poem that a friend of mine sent to me after I had gone through a storm in my life where I spent nearly a year in a wheelchair not knowing if I would ever walk again. The Poem was written by Martha Snell Nicholson entitled –

Treasures

One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.

And I walked earth’s highways, grieving.
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
“Lift your empty hands to Me!”

So I held my hands toward heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches,
Till they could contain no more.

And at last I comprehended
With my stupid mind and dull,
That God COULD not pour His riches
Into hands already full!

When we labor to gain the things of this world and leave God out of the picture we can expect the chastening rains to come and wash away the unnecessary trash and debris in our lives. Then when we are finally empty-handed we can reach toward our God in prayer with a repentant heart, and He will fill our lives with the good treasures of heaven. Some storms we face do come because of our willful sins and open disobedience.

SOME STORMS ARE SENT SO THAT WE CAN KNOW THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS

When I read what Paul had to say in Philippians about the sufferings that he went through for Christ that he counted it all but loss, I stand in amazement when I come to the section where he spoke of the fellowship of his sufferings. Imagine that, we share in a fellowship with Christ that goes beyond words of reason and human understanding when we suffer for the cause of Christ.

Philippians 3:8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

No wonder Jesus said in Matthew 5 -

Matthew 5:11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

No doubt Paul understood what this fellowship was when we read about all that he went through in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.  My goodness, when I think about some of the things that I went through in my Christian walk it seems small by comparison. But it is my hope that I have passed the test of faith and that someday I will hear my Lord say to me, well done thou good and faithful servant. (Matthew 25:21) When the storms of life come my way it is my hope and prayer that I will be able to dance in the rains so that I too can understand the fellowship of his sufferings. Jesus is that friend who will help us to dance in the rain. I am reminded of a great old Hymn that tells me why we so often don’t weather the storms the way that we should.

What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and grief’s to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!

CLOSING

Are you facing some storms in your life? I wish to encourage you to take them to the Lord in prayer as one of His children. What father would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish from him?

Matthew 7:9Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

The Lord loves His children in the same way that we love our own. If we take all that we are confronted with in our life to the Lord He will give us the strength, courage and power to face any and all situations that we run into. Often we don’t understand why we go through some of these storms. Sometimes the reason behind them may not be made known for years. Sometimes we won’t know the answer until we see Jesus. But one thing for certain He does work in our lives even when we think not. I’ve said this before and I believe that it is worthy to repeat. When you’re going through a trial and you can’t seem to get an answer from the Lord always bear in mind that the teacher is always quiet whenever there is a test.

THE INVITATION

Friend if you need the powerful hand of the Lord in your life to get you through the trials that you are faced with let me encourage you to come to the Lord in prayer putting your complete trust and faith in Him as your Lord and Savior. Then as one of His children He will help you get through every hardship that you will face in your obedient Christian walk. If you are ready to become one of His own then may I encourage you to follow along in this prayer and ask the Lord to save you.

Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

If you have sincerely prayed this prayer then you have the right and privilege to go to the Lord in prayer about the trials that you are faced with.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

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