Rain or Shine
Some years back, the Piedmont area where I lived suffered one of the worst droughts since meteorologists started tracking weather trends in the 1800s. That year, the ground was dry, and as the summer progressed, cracks emerged first in ungraded fields, then traveled to areas where the browned, drying grass protruded from the soil like bristles in a hair brush. Though the city was doing all it could by purchasing water and enforcing stringent water restrictions, the drought was so severe that late in the summer, officials announced that there was only 30 days of water left in the city’s water system. Looking at the parched grass and wilted bushes, I came to a deeper understanding of rain and it’s purpose. God used the drought to teach me from the “deep well” of His word.
You see, as a child, I’d heard, “it rains on the just and on the unjust”, and usually in reference to good people who were enduring terrible circumstances. To what seemed like an unanswerable and inexplicable punishment, that seemed like the “right thing to say” when you couldn’t come up with anything else to explain the circumstances. In my young mind, I’d deduced from that statement that God sending rain was a bad thing. As a child, that certainly made sense to me because when it rained, we couldn’t go out and play. But as an adult, I’d come to understand that both rain and sunshine were needed for humans, plants, and animals to survive and thrive. This “right thing to say” didn’t work for me anymore,
Studying further in Matthew 5:45 in the Sermon on the Mount, I discovered this passage actually says, “…He causes the sun to shine on the evil and the good, and sends the rain to the righteous and unrighteous.” In other words, God provides good things to both good and bad people. Verse 46 tells us explicitly that it’s easy to do good by those who are good, and highlights that what’s really required of us is to treat those who might not be our favorites like those who are our favorites.
What a tall order! The heart of the matter is this. Jesus told us directly that we should show goodness and kindness to everyone. It’s easy enough to do it when it’s the ones you love, but we frequently choke on this scripture when it’s the person that we don’t love. With this in mind, we need to find the strength and courage to love the unlovable and treat them like we love them. Whether it’s raining or the sun is shining beautifully where you are, let this command to show God’s love to all drive how you treat those you come in contact with today.