Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's raining, it's pouring...

"the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground.  So the Lord rained hail on the land..."
Exodus 9:23

We live in Southern California, so we don't get much weather.  I mean, we have weather, but we don't very often get weather, if you know what I mean...  Generally, our choices are:  sunny; pleasant; lovely; mild; temperate; and balmy.  And, of course, warm and hot.

But this morning we had a buffet of sights and sounds we rarely get to experience.  It was cloudy when we got up, which is not uncommon (especially during May Gray or June Gloom) but still welcome, particularly after the couple of weeks' worth of 90+ and 100+ temps we've had.  The kids and I were allowed to wake up slowly and enjoy the fun combination of:  warm-enough-to-have-the-windows-open-but-cool-enough-to-enjoy-snuggling-under-a-blanket.  It was slightly windy, and the view out the window was wonderfully gray and green.

But pretty soon we experienced the first of our weather buffet:  the sound of distant, then closer, thunder.  Thunder is a treat for me ~ not so much the dog.  My kids have a love/hate relationship with thunder and lightning.  They love the rain, but lightning makes them nervous, as they don't have much experience with it.  We didn't see any lightning today, but you can't have thunder and not know that the lightning is somewhere nearby.

So we sat, listening to the thunder and looking at the wonderful cloudiness and feeling the cool.... coolness.... and then the rain came.  Now, this in itself is a treat.  Especially at this time of year.  We don't even get enough rain in the winter to keep the media from reminding us all that we're still below "normal" and to cut down on our water use.   Not that anybody listens.  They keep washing their cars and watering their lawns and hosing off their patios with abandon...  But at this time of year, rain is unusual. So we looked out the window, and listened to the wonderful sound of it, and watched the wind blowing the trees and we smelled the wonderful smell.  Don't you love the smell of rain?  Did you know there's a word for that?  "Petrichor."  I don't know where I read that...

And then the next thing we knew ~ it was hailing.  The dog definitely wasn't comfortable with that.

"What is that?!"
But the kids and I were thrilled.  We ran back to the windows, and I grabbed the camera.  The Apple of my Eye was away at a meeting, so I didn't know if it was hailing where he was, or if he was even near a window.

Marble-sized hail bouncing off the patio
The hail lasted only about five minutes.  Then we got a little more rain, and that was it.  The clouds took several hours to disperse, giving way to a beautiful blue, cloudless sky, and temps in the low 70s.  Awesome.

But the whole thing had me wondering why I love this kind of weather so much.  I think there's two reasons:  Part of it is that it's exciting, and powerful.  Maybe there's an adrenaline rush at the reminder of the strength of nature.  But that power is only exciting if you're warm and safe.  If your home is in danger of flooding, or if you have no roof over your head, it's a different story.

The apple tree makes a great backdrop to the hail

It's a reminder, too, of His power.  Scripture speaks many times of God sending thunder, rain, and hailstones.  "Those who oppose the Lord will be broken.  The Most High will thunder from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth." (1 Samuel 2:10)

But while He is the one who wields the power, He is also our Protector.  "Let all who take refuge in You be glad; {are you glad?} Let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You." (Psalm 5:11)

Beautiful and exciting!
The other thought I had was more, sort of philosophical.  I thought about a rainy day in terms of difficult times in my life.  If the sunny days are good days, and the rainy days are difficult days, then thunder and lightning and hail are really bad news.  But just as days like this are rare in sunny Southern California, so, too, are rainy days rare in my life.  Sometimes it seems like those are the days that stand out, but His blessings far outweigh the difficulties He asks me to walk through.  "Surely You have granted me unending blessings and made me glad with the joy of Your presence." (Psalm 21:6)

I hope this day reminds me to see the stormy days in my life with the same enthusiasm... and that in the middle of trials, I would remember His power, and His protection, and the multitude of blessings He showers upon me and my family.

 ~"the Lord sent thunder and rain... 
so all the people stood in awe of the Lord" ~
1 Samuel 12:18

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