Seeing Through Rain

rainSeveral years ago on my original personal blog called Front Porch Chats, I wrote about a certain intersection in the South Carolina city where I lived. If you looked to the left at the stoplight at East North and Haywood Road, you got a view that went all the way to North Carolina. We lived in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, and on a clear day, the view from that intersection was breathtaking. The kids would laugh because I would always start singing Psalm 121. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills…” My alternate song was, “Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her frame, from everlasting Thou art God, to endless years the same!”

On a cloudy or rainy day, the view was obscured. The gray mist completely obliterated the mountains, and you would never have known that they loomed in the distance. It’s so much like life. There are times when we seem to see the Lord in our lives and His plan so clearly, and joyful songs come easily. Then there are the times when the mists of confusion and personal pain descend and there doesn’t seem to be a song for it. God seems obscured by a heavy veil, and the things in our lives seem to make no sense at all.

This seems to be reflected again and again in the Psalms and in David’s experiences. There are Psalms that are joyful bursts of praise and hope, and then there are the Psalms that are urgent pleas for help and even cries of near despair. “Hear my cry, O Lord, give ear unto my prayer…” Psalm 17:1

We don’t understand sometimes why the enemy seems to be given so much ground in this life. As believers, we know we are in a spiritual battle, and we know that the enemy has many devices, but somehow when you come face to face with his handiwork and attempts to destroy your faith and confidence, it still dismays. Evil people seem to be given almost unmlimited scope at times to harass and trouble you. The enemy loves to hurl accusations at you. He is, after all, the accuser of the brethren. Sometimes the past that you seek to leave behind, as Scripture tells us to, rises up out of nowhere to mock and haunt you. Physical pain can also work this way. There seems to be absolutely no redemptive element at times in physical suffering. You just want help and to have the pain alleviated. These times can leave us puzzled and confused.

I’ve thought of those mountains many times. They never left, I just couldn’t see them. In our lives, that’s where faith comes in. God hasn’t left us, He just sometimes seems veiled to us. I once read an illustration in a sermon where a child out walking with his mother was continually stopping and getting distracted and running off. The mother briefly stepped out of view into a doorway. It took a few moments for the errant child to realize his mother was missing. Suddenly, the distractions ceased to attract him and his one passion was to find his mother’s face. The child learned his lesson and kept his hand in his mother’s for the rest of the way.

Maybe that’s why God sometimes obscures himself for a time in our lives. Maybe He also wants our single-minded attention and seeking of Himself. Frances Ridley Havergal wrote once of putting a little child to bed. Until the light was put out, the child was playing in the crib, oblivious to her in the room. When the light went out, the little one immediately stood up and gripped the edge of the crib, anxious to know that someone familiar was there. Frances wrote of how sweet the baby’s arms were, tightly placed around her neck. The baby had needed security and found it in her caregiver. She didn’t have the need until the lights around her were out.

Sometimes the light in our lives goes out. Plans we have made, hopes and dreams we have had are totally rearranged by the Lord. Things seem murky and senseless. Those are the times when we need to reach out for the Lord and grasp tightly to Him. As His children, we are so easily distracted and so quickly removed from that kind of love and security in His presence.

If you’re trying to see through rain today and the mists have descended, just remember, the mountains are still there. God’s eternal presence never leaves us. We sometimes try to leave Him, but He doesn’t leave us. Life is always going to have its heartaches and struggles. As I said once before, every Eden in this life has its serpent. But reach out in the dark for the hand of the One who doesn’t fail. He will lead us on to clearer times of understanding. The sun will shine again, and your songs will return again, all the more joyful because God brought you through.

14 thoughts on “Seeing Through Rain

  1. Lisa K says:

    Ingrid – thank you for this very needed and enlightening post. I hope you are doing well. I also want to thank others who are praying for me.
    Unexplained pain such as what I’m experiencing after surgery is just the thing to send one running to God! I spent several hours on the phone yesterday while my sister prayed for me and tried to “cheer me up” Sometimes things seem so hopeless, and I have to try and snap out of that mindset. I have to be thankful for all the positive things, such as a caring relative, friend or a compassionate doctor.

  2. Sherry Goodwin says:

    What a well-written post! Isn’t it wonderful when God makes sense of all the nonsense we struggle with every day just trying to make it through the day sometimes? I know there are times when I am weary and down-hearted but God knows exactly how and when to lift me up, to cheer me up and take my burdens from me. He is always there. . .I am the one who moves away from him in busyness sometimes. What a faithful God we serve! Praying for you and your family, dear sister.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for your beautifully written post. You have woven power and tenderness together into a precious reminder that our Lord is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, that He promises His constant presence in our lives. He is there even when we cannot “feel” or “see” Him.

    Praying for you…

  4. Carol says:

    Ingrid, this is so beautiful and certainly something that I can relate to that it moved me to tears. God Bless you, Sister – Love, Carol

  5. Mary Ann says:

    Thank you, Ingrid. This was a lovely post and hope-filled. I sent it along to several friends who are living in that misty place. You are a blessing.

  6. Joanne says:

    Thank you, Ingrid. How beautifully you have stated the wonderful truth of God’s faithfulness. Our faith at times is so weak but He is always there–He never fails us. I was in that “misty place” several years ago with a very painful health issue that took a full 10 years to remedy. I am so grateful for the faithfulness of our Lord and that He was always there with me even when I was too sick to pray, to overcome with pain to read the Bible, too overwhelmed to even hold my thoughts together. I would never desire to go through the illness again but I am forever grateful for HIM and how He took me through and what He taught me. It is so true that our greatest spiritual growth comes in the difficult times.

    I also wanted to add that your son, Sam, is such a fine Godly man–it is wonderful to see that there are still a few faithful young men left!!! I am blessed and encouraged by Him.

  7. Lisa K says:

    Joanne I was almost in tears reading your message above. I’m in so much physical pain right now – back pain after hernia surgery and my surgeon says it should not affect my back at all. Your message gave me hope that there is a possibility for the future. I just pray to get answers. Every one of our bodies is slightly different – and the medical profession is many times not “seeing through the rainy mist” to realize this.
    Lisa K

  8. Les says:

    Ingrid, thank you so much for posting this. I hope you are feeling better and that the little one is safe.

    Lisa K, have you had an x-ray since your surgery?

  9. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Lisa,
    I am so sorry about you being in such pain. I am praying for you, and I know others are here as well. I pray the Lord will help the doctors figure something out about what is causing your agony. I fully understand how frustrating it is when doctors can’t even seem to find answers. The Lord help you today.

  10. Lisa K says:

    I am seeing my pcp dr today and am actually typing a list of questions for him. X-rays are at the top of the list.

    Doctors tend to look for the “big” life threatening causes for pain and when they rule those out they lose interest. My gut feeling tells me this is not life-threatening, just something simple that may not even show up on high-tech tests, such as my spine being just a bit out of allignment (I have slight scoliosis and it could be a factor).
    Thank you all so much for your prayers!

    Lisa K

  11. Socorro Alaniz says:

    Ingrid…

    Happy to see and read new post and praying for your continued health during this season.

    I love the comparison to a child who is easily distracted but as soon as he doesn’t see his mommy his world is in total disarray. So like us! Thank you… a very timely message.

    Lisa K

    I will pray that you find relief and that the doctors are able to treat the pain you are experiencing.

    Socorro in Bonita, CA

  12. Carol says:

    Lisa K, I’m so sorry to hear about your back pain. I will pray for you and that they will find what is causing it. It could be as simple as a pinched nerve which can happen when the back is out of alignment due to stress or trauma. God Bless you, you are in His hands, Love, Carol

  13. Jill says:

    How funny! I started reading your post and without thinking I could picture EXACTLY what you meant, describing that particular view of the NC mountains. Then I realized it was because I could picture exactly that intersection!

    Blogs have a certain amount of anonymity, so it comes as a great shock to picture some landmark so clearly as I read.

    I enjoyed your post. You have a gift for writing.

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