“I’m singing in the rain! Just singing in the rain! What a glorious feeling! I’m happy again! I’m dancing and singing in the rain.”
Remember that 1952 classic movie when Don Lockwood (played by Gene Kelly) was so overwhelmed with love that his joy boiled over overflowing into a song and dance, swinging off light posts in the middle of a torrential downpour? It was certainly one of my favorites growing up as I watched it over and over again. That song came to mind today, and I had to reflect on the lessons I learned from that movie. Lessons? You ask?
Throughout my life, God has carried me through some pretty dark times. Those times weren’t much different than the current global crisis. There were times when I questioned what God was doing in my life and in the circumstances surrounding me. There was one time in particular when I found myself in the pit of despair. I felt my life was in shambles. I felt I was a failure and my life was so very far from where my hope and dreams for a joyous future had been. I questioned God and what He was doing. My faith in Him being the Sovereign and All Powerful God was put to the test. After all, if He really cared for me, why would He permit all these horrible things to happen to me, if I was His child? Is He really such a good God after all? These were dark times; times that on at least one occasion brought me to tears in the middle of a church service, to the point the deacons noticed and came to pray for me right then and there in the pew.
It was somewhere around this time I decided that, if I truly believed God is in control of all things, holds the whole world in His hands, is compassionate, answers prayer, and is all powerful, then I had to make the decision to live out that faith. That belief had to make a difference in how I lived. It had to change the way I viewed the world or environment around me. That belief had to change my perspective. I could choose to let the craziness of the world around me weigh me down—much like concrete on my feet binding me from any sort of movement. I could choose to let circumstances paralyze me. Atrophy might be a good word.
At about this same time, I found a fridge magnet that really summed it up for me and I’ve been placing it on my fridge wherever I go around the world since that time. It says: “Life isn’t waiting for the storm to pass. It’s learning to dance in the rain.” For you see as I discovered, the other choice was to let go and trust that the incredible All Powerful God, the Creator of the universe, was still in control. At the beginning, I had to really struggle to change my way of thinking. But this very conscious, deliberate decision to change my perspective on a daily—sometimes even moment by moment basis— was life changing and liberating. I discovered that it’s only in remembering what we went through after the crisis that can we start to see God was at work and had a plan in all that transcends my ability to understand. Perhaps this is why, throughout the Bible, God told His people to “remember”. If we saw the future, it would be too overwhelming for us. We are asked to simply have faith and trust. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing, not one single hardship or crisis. For it was in those times that I grew and saw God the most. I thank God for all that He carried me through.
It really doesn’t matter what chaos is brewing around me. The world seems to have gone crazy. We are locked down in France and confined for possibly two months, they are saying as of tonight’s news. Time will tell. The death toll is staggering. We see challenges to maintain contact with believers. Challenges to reach out to those really struggling with the isolation. Our Camps have had to be canceled until June. We are having to reinvent ourselves and find new creative ways to encourage others. The isolation, depression, fear and anxiety is already wearing on people. This tiny, microscopic organism is bringing world powers and their leaders to their knees. How fragile we are as humans! How critical it is that God is still there and doesn’t sleep.
This present storm is raging with a power rarely seen in our lifetimes. Faith in God doesn’t change the gravity of the crisis we are going through. What changes is me and my relationship to God. We can choose to keep that concrete on our feet, weighing us down, letting the atrophy sink in. Or we can choose to worship God in all His magnificence and beauty, giving feet to our beliefs, reaching out using whatever is in our hands, becoming the salt and light to the suffering world that we are called to be. Those feet, overwhelmed by the presence of the All-Powerful God to the point where even in this storm, can still find a reason to dance.
Romans 15:17 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may boil over and overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” In reflecting and dissecting this simple prayer, those words “as you trust in Him” jump out at me. All that is needed to find that hope, joy and peace we are crying out for right now in this crazy, fragile world, is to “trust in Him” while we shift our focus to acknowledging God for who He is. He will take it from there as we put our faith on Him. It doesn’t mean the crisis will stop or the grief will be any less painful. But it does mean that He will carry me through it and on the other side He will help me recover.
So in the midst of the crisis, you will find me “dancing and singing in the rain.” I’m praying that in this time of fear, despair and uncertainty, you will find all the hope, joy and peace that can only come from trusting in Him.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:4-7