People listened to me carefully and waited quietly for my advice. After I finished speaking, they spoke no more. My words fell very gently on their ears. They waited for me as they would for rain and drank in my words like spring rain. I smiled at them when they doubted, and my approval was important to them. I chose the way for them and was their leader. I lived like a king among his army, like a person who comforts sad people. Job 29:21-26
Lest you jump to a conclusion that Job’s words are rooted in conceit, keep in mind Job is celebrating after a time of intense trials, perhaps unrivaled by anyone else in the Old Testament. He is reestablishing his faith and hope for a long and productive life. After a very long, dark season, he sees a future of prosperity. Just as he mentions “they waited for me as they would for rain and drank in my words like spring rain,” Job himself has done the same. He waited on God through the intense frustrations and pain of winter. His life was bleak, but he has now emerged into the warmth of spring sunshine and the refreshment of cleansing spring rain.
When have you – literally or figuratively – felt the refreshment of rain, especially after an extremely dry or cold season?
I love the feeling of refreshing rain. It’s not just about feeling the rain on my face; I enjoy splashing in puddles. I don’t mind getting soaked (as long as I’m not getting ready to go somewhere). And the smell of rain falling on a dry ground is cleansing. My favorite spring smell is freshly-turned dirt in farmers’ fields. My second spring smell is the rain falling on those fields. (Keep in mind growing seasons are not the same everywhere, so not everyone has the same experience with spring rain. In fact, the growing season often referred to in the Bible is quite different. What we might consider as spring rains were actually unusual. However, they were welcome and especially refreshing for that reason.)
Regardless of when rain comes, it nourishes the ground. In Scripture, rain is sometimes given as an analogy to the refreshment of Jesus’ coming. Jesus’ presence is refreshing and nourishing. Jesus is life-sustaining. Without a relationship with Jesus, acknowledging his life, death and resurrection, without accepting him as God’s son, there is no hope beyond this short life on earth. Jesus is not only refreshing and nourishing; Jesus is essential.
When have you experienced Jesus as essential to your life? Perhaps you haven’t. In that case, when have you struggled with the need for Jesus and his presence in your life?
God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)
I didn’t always know Jesus. When I was growing up, I learned about Jesus. I could answer the basic questions, but the information I had was simply head knowledge, which isn’t enough. I needed heart knowledge. Once I personally encountered the reality of who God is and what Jesus did for me, my life shifted. Oh, I was the same person in many ways. God had created me and had been present and working in my life for years. I just didn’t acknowledge him. Once I started following Jesus, I questioned a lot of things. After all, how could I have been so inattentive? What did I miss out on? How would I ever “catch up” with all I need to know in order to be who God wanted me to be? How could I live in a way so everyone around me would want to know more about Jesus? I felt as if I’d been through the most refreshing rain shower of my life – a downpouring of God’s presence. I was ready to growth, thrive and live!
Well, let’s just say I couldn’t do everything at once. And it wouldn’t help for me to punish myself for what I had or hadn’t done in the past. I couldn’t make up lost time, but I could fully use what God was currently giving me. I could soak in his nourishment. And I couldn’t be all things to all people in my own strength. I could only be who he created me to be in his strength, and he would have to work out the timing of who would be impacted, how, and when.
I thought the refreshing downpour experience would last forever. However, sometimes the refreshment of rain is short-lived. The sun can come out and intensify oppressive humidity. Steam comes off the ground. Or the rain can cause flooding or at least messes that get in the way of what needs to get done. Rain can certainly be inconvenient.
Just as rain can have negative impact that lasts, its positive impact lasts as well. Even after the rain is soaked from the ground we see, it’s seeping into underground springs and wells. Even as the sun seems to bake away the moisture, drawing it back into the atmosphere, it’s being prepared to fall again as it gathers in the clouds.
What I didn’t realize when I encountered Jesus and felt overwhelmingly refreshed was that there would continue to be seasons in my life. He would use the rains of life to nourish and benefit me even when I couldn’t see the benefits. He would use the sunlight of life to nourish and benefit me even when I couldn’t see the benefits.
Experiencing Jesus as the spring (season) of life is acknowledging him as the spring (constant source) of my life. I want to soak in his presence on a constant basis.