A couple of months ago my sweet, rowdy, yet contemplative six year old was sitting by the window watching the rain.
He, of course, wanted to play outside. He always wants to play outside. Rain, snow, sweltering heat, no matter. And I usually have no objections, but this was a thunder storm so I had to refuse.
Joe always jokes that, if anything ever happened to us, Judah would keep the other kids alive with his foraging skills. He is rough around the edges sometimes, but he is fiercely loyal. He's outdoorsy and creative and he's a make-it-happen kind of guy, like his daddy.
He sat there frowning, obviously not enjoying my "no" and staring outside.
"Mom, what are we going to do to stop the rain?"
Oh, my sweet Judah.
This is a hard lesson to learn. It's one that many adults still haven't quite mastered.
"Well, baby, we can't stop the rain", I said. "That's not how it works. It's hard when we don't have control over things, isn't it? But we don't decide when it rains or when it stops raining. Only God can do that".
He didn't really seem satisfied with that nugget of wisdom. ;)
But, again, most adults aren't really happy about not being able to control things, either.
I am one of them.
But what I wanted to tell him, what most adults probably really need to hear, what I hope he will understand one day, is that most of the time,
The rain is not about you.
Most of the time, God is doing something bigger, for a greater purpose that we can't see. The rain is for someone or something, no doubt. God doesn't act without purpose.
And, sure, sometimes, it's for you or about you.
But most of the storms...most of the struggle, most of the inconvenience, most of the things that offend us, most of the things that makes us grumpy have very little to do with us.
I wonder how we would respond differently if we could remove ourselves from the equation. What if we walked away from the window and did something productive? What if we thanked God for the rain and enjoyed the beauty in it, even if it's not what we had in mind?