Way back in January of this year, which honestly feels like some different world and time altogether, I tagged along with my husband Brett on a work trip...to Hawaii. I mean, how spoiled can a girl be? A practically free trip to an exotic location just handed to me! As you’ll soon see, apparently very spoiled. But more of that later, because it turned out the Lord had a lesson to teach me about our current world here in 2020 way back before all the drama began…
Trouble in Paradise
Hawaii is gorgeous. Even in January. The only way you’d ever even know it was winter time is that it sometimes rains. And as it turned out the week we were in Hawaii was one of those “rainy” weeks. Now, to be fair, we’re not talking about torrential downpours with high winds and thunder. We’re just talking mostly drizzles and maybe some showers and then it would stop. But I’d come to Hawaii to get a tan! I’d come to Hawaii to do what I do best, which is lay on a beach with sunglasses on and read a book for hours! (I’m pretty sure I warned you guys earlier that I was spoiled, here’s where that comes in.) So I was pretty nonplussed with this turn of events.
The first few days were our adventure days when Brett didn’t have to work, so we’d driven around the island and the rain had mostly happened while we were in the car and I’d almost convinced myself that I wasn’t even *on* a typical beach vacation while we visited cute beachside villages and pineapple orchards. But on the third day Brett had to go to work and I was left to do what I had planned: Sit on the beach and read my book.
My day in the (Not) Sun
But of course, it rained. It rained a cold uncomfortable rain, but I was not to be deterred. I remembered a jacuzzi on the roof of our hotel resort. I’d head there! It would be less cold there! I packed up all my beach things, lugged them back to the hotel and by the time I got to the roof, the earlier rain shower had stopped, but now I was on the roof so I visited the jacuzzi. It was lukewarm at best. I actually started to get a chill. But I was still not through with having my dream beach day. I remembered *another* jacuzzi at a different pool….Again, I packed up all my things and headed out to find it. It took me a while to make my way through the maze of the resort, but finally I found the other jacuzzi! But as soon as I arrived it started to rain again! My book was getting wet, my towel had long past its point of dryness so after a few minutes in the rainy jacuzzi I headed back to my room defeated. Brett found me in bed watching Friends reruns when he got back an hour or so later.
Rainbows Require Rain
I was in a pretty grumpy mood, but I recovered with an afternoon spent with my husband. Afterall, any mother of three relatively young kids will take just about ANY type of kid-free time with her husband! But the next day, Brett was headed back to work, and I headed back down to the beach. It was lovely there in the morning before the sun came up. (Thanks jetlag!) And having my quiet times on the beach was truly the highlight of my days. But as I sat there on the beach, the sun finally up...my beach day finally happening. It started to rain. My first thought was “Nooooo!!!! I gotta get out of this! NOT AGAIN!” But honestly, as clear as a bell in my mind I heard the Lord say, “No. Sit there.”
So I did. And friends, I got wet. The rain was cold and uncomfortable and I hid my books under my chair to keep them from getting ruined, I pulled the towel closer around me and I sat there. In the rain, not moving. I looked over the grey and choppy water, and the rain came steadily down. But after about 15 minutes, the rain started to slacken….I turned and there, up in the sky to my right was the most beautiful perfect rainbow. It filled the sky as the last of the rain past and the sun came down for the most perfect glorious beach day. I spent literally the whole day enjoying the beach as a few hours later Brett got to join me and we soaked up the beautiful January day at the beach!
Sometimes We Must Sit in the Storm
But the spiritual lesson was not lost on me. I saw, ever so clearly, how I had tried my best, on my own, to get out of my funk. I’d worked so hard, moving from place to place, trying to find something to make me happy, but none of it had worked! Instead, the Lord had shown me that sitting in the midst of the hard thing (in this case cold, rain) had been important. It had been necessary. Because we all know, without the rain there is no beautiful rainbow. And that rainbow? God did that. I couldn’t ever work hard enough to create anything that beautiful!
This was an important lesson for me, an eternal doer. ( I literally can’t stop with the doing!) But as the months have past since that trip in January. A global pandemic has happened. And I’ve once again seen this lesson play out, as myself and everyone else, has tried everything to “fix” our current reality. I’ve tried being a better mom, I've tried being the best homeschool teacher, I’d organized every junk drawer. I’ve memorized all the scripture. We’d figured out virtual church, virtual accountability groups, we’d talked and researched all the history and all the science, we’d watched press conferences, we’d bought masks and more hand sanitizer. We’d given ourselves breaks, we'd made loaf after loaf of banana bread. We’d left toilet paper at front doors, we’d organized nursing home parades and rock art scavenger hunts. And we’d made pictures of rainbows to hang in windows....
And there it was the rainbow, the reminder. The reminder to me, but really to all of us. We need Jesus. If there is anything we can learn from COVID19 it is the gospel of Jesus Christ is still the truth. There is truly NO WAY we can save ourselves. Both literally, and most importantly spiritually. I hope, and pray that as Christians we see that, we cling to that. Because it will be all the more needed in the days ahead.
For mankind will continue to try and fix their circumstances (some of it will even be good!) but it will never, ever be enough. We will look to science, to politics, to reason, but none of it will be enough. Only Christ can save the church from our messiness, only Christ can save me from myself, only Christ...
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the Shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1)
And so as we look to an unknown future, maybe we need to go ahead and sit in this storm, take this time to seek the Lord while it is still day. This too shall pass, and I pray I get to see the Lord's rainbow at the end of it