Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rain Clouds

I woke up excited this morning; I was taking the motorcycle from home, in Alabama, to Arkansas. Anxiously I looked out the window – good; clouds, but no rain. I had been planning this trip for weeks, months if you count from the time I first conceived the idea of riding out to visit my sensei. I had waited for warm weather, money, and the opportunity to be able to get away, and finally these three things were going to coincide!

All week I had watched the weather, praying that the rain would pass through quickly during the night. The weather radar on the internet confirmed that although it was quite overcast, the rain had indeed passed. I quickly dressed and pulled the bike out of the shed to load my gear. As I strapped my bag on it began to mist. "Well, it’s just a bit of leftovers from the rain," I told myself. I finished and rolled the bike back into the shed to wait. It wasn’t going to be warm and sunny, and I didn’t want to start my trip out wet, because if I did I knew I would freeze the rest of the day. The mist did not quit; in fact it increased and began to drip off the house. In frustration I went back to the internet radar. It looked clear. Where was this coming from? I found a really neat button on the screen that lets you zoom in on the radar map. As I zoomed in I saw a tiny pinpoint of green on the map, just northwest of Calera, AL. I zoomed in some more and saw my street, and that tiny pinpoint of green was… directly over my house. Less than half a mile down my street there was no sign of precipitation. Without a second thought I said good-bye, jumped on the motorcycle, and took off down the road. By the end of my street the mist had stopped and it was dry.

My spirits soared as I took off down the road. Yes, it was chilly with a low, solid overcast, but I had looked at the forecast and the weather maps and as I rode west it should be clearing. I got comfortable and settled in for the 500 mile ride. As I rode along I began to look for signs that the clouds were clearing, but the overcast stayed pretty solid. Every once in a while I could see a thinner place or a lighter place in the sky, and once, for a second, I saw a bright blue hole in the cloud cover, but it quickly disappeared. Still, I knew it had to clear eventually.

I stopped in Tuscaloosa for gas and a cup of coffee; I was a bit chilly and wanted to warm up before I got on I-20. As I stood inside the gas station drinking my coffee a woman in line commented that it was a cold morning for a motorcycle ride. "Yes," I agreed. "But I am headed west and it should be clearing up as I go." Her reply was depressing. "I left Jackson this morning and it was just like this." Humph. But after that initial groan my brain kicked in. Weather travels from west to east. This woman was following the trailing edge of the front, and would likely stay in it all day. I was traveling the other way, and would soon leave it behind. I had studied the map and looked at the radar, and I knew the weather patterns were on my side. But the sky was gray and I couldn’t see any sign that she was wrong and I was right. I headed west, anxiously looking for signs of a clearing sky. There were none.

As I rode into Meridian, MS, I was cold and tired; I wanted to see the sun. I elected to stop for lunch, thinking I’d rather stop now in the cold overcast rather than later, when I hoped and prayed the sun would be out. Would the sun come out? I parked, took off my leather, fished out my wallet and cell phone, and walked into Cracker Barrel. It was crowded. As I waited for a table, I glanced out to check on my bike, and the sky was bright blue! The sun was out and there was not a trace of clouds in the sky at all!

As I continued my trip I thought about the events of my morning. I began to see a connection between the weather of the morning and my spiritual life. So often my spiritual walk is full of hope and promise. But I begin to focus on what I see, the clouds and cold, or the world around me, and I get cold and weary. And then the world comes in and whispers in my ear that God is not really there. And even if He is, He doesn’t love you, He cares nothing for you; these clouds are never going to end. But I must remember what I know to be true. Weather radar is a true picture of the weather, just like the Bible is true. And no matter what I see in my immediate surroundings, I must trust what I know to be true. The weather will clear ahead; God does love me and He has a plan for my life. I just have to hold on for a while longer. When I least expect it, there will be blue sky and sunshine. By the same token, one day I will bow before God in Heaven and He will exchange my imperfect sinful flesh for a perfect body, just like He promised in the Bible. Heaven (and Hell) is real, and the unseen spiritual life is real on this earth, even when it doesn’t look like it.

John 3:16-18 – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because He has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Rebecca A Givens, 03/2007
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