A Theology For The Rain.
“Rain, after all, is only rain; it is not bad weather. So also, pain is only pain, unless we resist it, when it becomes torment.”
– The I Ching
“Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.” – Winston Churchill
There is an abstract beauty to rain. We have shielded ourselves from it with the construction of wooden, straw and concrete huts over our daily lives, but every so often a window blows open in the wind and rain lands in the un-hidden places – the fresh laundry pile, the cd rack, the potplant.
Why this aversion of skin to rain? Why is water cleansing and good when it comes contained in pipes and bottles of our own making but yet this raw, heavenly connected water that falls from the sky without warning makes our skin jump, our shoulders hunch and our faces fall inwards with new wrinkles around the nose and eyes?
Is it the control that I cannot fathom relinquishing? The intimacy of the raindrop that falls, catching on the skin of my neck, coursing a stream into places unseen? The abruptness of the touch that comes without invitation? All these questions lead me to ask what I must do to recapture the delight of a child that plays in the rain.
When I was younger and Cyclone Bola was battering her anguish down on Auckland City, we watched from our classrooms as great grey clouds rolled across the sun. We lost the light into a dull greyness for a week, only knowing the dampness of our toes inside our shoes from the moment we left home. Across puddles and in uncomfortable plastic raincoats, with drips escaping down sleeves and soaking into socks we never feared the rain. Even the discomfort of the squelch… it was a joyous delight.
Why must God be so gracious and gentle with us? Because it’s in His nature to be so, allowing us the wilful fortitude of closing the door on unwelcome invasion and the beauty of the prayerful invitation. We, yearning for control in a world that seems spinning, lack the courage to deny ourselves the right to say no.
So we cry out, dry and thirsty, for the rain to come when we are ready. I would rather be rain-soaked and taken by surprise by the proximity of God, and the intimacy of His association with me, than ever to be dry again. Let it rain. Let it rain.