Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Florida Weather and Your Spiritual Life

I can’t speak for most Floridians, but as a long time transplant from Alabama let me state for the record that I love living in Florida. We think it is freezing when the temperature hits 50 degrees. We don’t like it when the sun doesn’t shine every day. We hate the gray sky. And this thing that most of you call Winter, lasts for less than a week total in the months of January and February. We post it all over the internet and social media just to make all of our friends who had to move away from here just a little jealous. We love the fact that it might rain for an hour but then the sun comes out, the birds start singing, and animated cartoon animals start playing out in the meadow. Ok so the last part doesn’t happen unless you are at Disney World. Which is another reason to love being a Floridian!

We don’t do well with extended periods of cold weather, rain, or gloomy skies. I know some of my northern friends and Canadians brethren are already rolling their eyes in disgust. Many of them have great reasons for living in other areas of the country and I get them sometimes. But if you can live in paradise which is what my phone calls our area on the weather app, (it might do that for everyone in every location too!) then why wouldn’t you. But there is a time when we need a few rain storms to come through even in paradise. If we didn’t get those rain showers in the summer and days like today when it is a slow soaking rain, we couldn’t live here. We are parallel to some of the great deserts in the world. The difference is those pesky summer showers and the fronts than bring us rain from time to time. If we didn’t have the rain, then we couldn’t have the perpetual state of green around us. But the truth is most of us don’t like those rainy days.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. We prefer all of our days to be filled with the Lord’s sunshine. We want to spend each day basking in the glory of His love and being warmed by the experience of His presence in tangible ways. We love the fact that His love keeps the cold of doubt at bay. We even sing hymns to that affect like Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee. We wake up every morning and pray that today will be a great day that will bring us peace, love and happiness. And there is certainly nothing wrong with wanting that for us, our family, and our friends.

However, have you ever stopped to consider that those storms that come our way bring growth to our faith the same way the rain brings necessary water to the plants in our yards and the grass that makes other states envious? Maybe the Lord is trying to get a message to us that can’t be delivered in the warm sunny meadows of our lives. Many great men and women of faith have written about the “Dark Night of the Soul” that they went through and how the Lord used those dark and dreary days to teach them to depend more fully on the character and certainty of God’s promises. So maybe a little rain cloud in our spiritual journey grows to become a full blown hurricane not to destroy us but to make us stronger and replenish our dry soul. I have been there too. I am not there now by the way.

But the Lord laid this on my heart this morning during my drive into the office and during my devotional time. So maybe this is for just one of you who will read this or maybe you know someone who is in the middle of a storm and you need to pass it on to them. Or maybe there is a storm coming in my life and the Lord just wanted to remind me of the truth of His grace. Spend some time reading and meditating on Psalm 107 if you find yourself in that position. Here’s just a little of it to get you started.
28Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and He brought them out of their distress.
29He stilled the storm to a murmur,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet.
Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for.
31Let them give thanks to the Lord

for His faithful love

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