“Into each life some rain must fall.” I don’t often quote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow but this quote came to mind several times this past weekend as I tried to mentally deal with the rain. All the rain. So.much.rain. I’m trying to have a better attitude – replacing my complaining with thoughts more positive. I’m not sure all the credit goes to a random quote rumbling through my brain, but my attitude did seem better. Despite the all-day downpour.
I’ve always thought this quote was rather light-hearted – accept whatever a day may offer type of attitude. In reality, this line is from a poem Wadsworth wrote after the death of his first wife. Both of his wives died tragically but his first wife (of only a few years) died after a miscarriage. The poem came out of his despair.
All of us face adversity. Hard stuff. Hard days that often drag into long, difficult weeks. Sometimes longer. Right now, I know several who are right in the middle of “hard stuff.” I know others who are just beginning to feel the load lightened or who are sensing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. And, thanks be God, there are always days filled with sunshine. Let’s never take those days for granted. But when the dark clouds begin to fill the sky and adversity rolls in, how do we respond? If we find ourselves smack in the middle of a storm, what do we do?
So often, our first response is to ask “why??” We yearn to know the purpose of our trial. No doubt, there is purpose for adversity but the answer to why is not always easily understood and there is no one pat answer for all of life’s hard times. However, there are some general answers to the purpose for affliction that apply to all of our lives as Christians: God uses it to get our attention, God wants to remind us of His rich love for us, and we can use these times for self-examination.
But even more important than knowing the reason for adversity, is our response to it. Our response is critical. Once He has our attention and we have humbly and sincerely examined ourselves, we need to focus on “God, how can you be glorified?” Not only is that the ultimate purpose for adversity – but it also gives us purpose. Seeking to glorify Him, we can endure. We can persevere. The rain may continue to fall. The skies may remain dark but that sense of purpose – to glorify our Heavenly father – covers us like an umbrella. Protects us. Surrounds us. Comforts us. Until the storm passes over.
If your days are sun-drenched, praise the Lord! Often and sincerely. If the storm clouds have gathered in our life, seek to know how He can be glorified. Allow that to be what covers you. If you are able to share at all in the comments, I would be privileged to pray for you.