It was the worst summer of my life. The year was 1994 and I had just completed my first year of college. I think that it rained every day that summer. I spent all day indoors working at a cheese factory. I showed up for work every day just as the sun was coming up. When I left work every afternoon it was always raining. I felt like I was living in a Tim Burton movie.
Cheese. Rain. Sleep.
Cheese. Rain. Sleep.
By the end of that summer I had one wish. I didn’t want to see rain again. Ever.
My wish came true. For about the next 20 years the state of Georgia was under a severe drought. I remember being in church services where we prayed for small towns that were on the verge of running out of water. During those two decades, the absence of rain wasn’t the only problem. It was hot too. Years later when Facebook came along, almost every status update said something about the temperature.
Sheila Jefferson Blankenship It is soooooooooo hot!!!!! This is crazy. Somebody up there turn on the AC. SMH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And then there would be a picture of the car thermometer showing us all that it was 106 degrees in Sheila Jefferson Blankenship’s Volvo. That’s before she turned on her AC.
By the end of last year, I noticed a strange phenomenon. The ponds in my community were drying up. The places where people once fished and cows once did whatever disgusting thing it is that cows do in ponds now looked like giant mud puddles. Again, we all prayed for rain.
And God answered our prayers favorably.
It feels weird to say this but this summer we’ve had more rain than we have seen in 20 years. It’s still hot but it’s not unbearable. For the past week or two, we’ve gotten a good rain at least once a day. Ponds look like ponds again. People’s gardens look like jungles.
And that leads to another strange phenomenon.
Nobody is happy about the rain. There are no special church services thanking God for blessing us with all of this rain. Only complaints.
Shelia Jefferson Blankenship What is up with this rain? Enough already. Somebody up there turn it off! SMH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is followed by a picture of Shelia Jefferson Blankenship’s frowning kids dressed in their swimsuits but unable to go to the pool because of a thunderstorm.
It’s never enough for us. If it’s raining, it’s too much rain. But if it’s dry, God must have forgotten about us. We want God to give us what we want but we don’t even know what we want. And so we complain.
There’s more behind all of these complaints than just a bad attitude. Each time we question the amount or timing of rain we are implying that we know more than God. That our plans to take the kids to the pool are somehow more important than his sovereign will.
We’re in good company.
In the Bible, a man named Job was quick to question God. And God answered him. But it wasn’t the kind of answer one gives to explain his actions. It was the kind of answer one gives to explain his absolute sovereign rule over all things.
“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, when the dust runs into a mass and the clods stick fast together?” Job 38:34-38 (ESV)
“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” Job 40:2 (ESV)
Job eventually got the point and we should too. We are not God. There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4) and he has been doing an excellent job of managing the universe from the moment that he created it (Colossians 1:15-17).
I learned something in the summer of 1994 and the nearly 20 years of drought that followed it. God blesses us in different ways. But if we’re too busy worrying about our agenda, we’re going to miss those blessings. Sometimes they’ll even start to look like curses.
But God is gracious.
Through all of our complaints and rebellious acts against his sovereign will, God continues to bless us. And typically his greatest blessings are the ones that we don’t think we need.
Lord Jesus, help us to see the world with your eyes. Help us to learn to be thankful.
Editor’s Note: I don’t know anyone named Shelia Jefferson Blankenship. Shelia, if you exist, I meant no offense. I hope you have a great summer. And I hope your kids make it to the pool.