Like many of you, I like to walk. And, when I have the time, walking, combined with a multi-day backpacking trek, is my favorite way of padding my pedometer. Years ago, I learned from a seasoned hiker, that if you are out on a trail for more than a week, you will most likely have to walk some in the rain. It’s just part of the deal. That’s one reason why most experienced hikers put in a rain jacket and a pack cover somewhere in their pack. The analogies and applications to our walk in this life are many and helpful. Let me list just a few.
– If you’re getting rained on, don’t look at it as a punishment. Don’t automatically think, “I did something wrong. It’s especially easy to think this way when the rain has lasted a long time. Think of “rain” in the way I am using it in this article as the hardships, inconveniences, and perhaps even the trials of life. What I’m getting at here is the simple truth that walking in the rain is simply a part of life. It’s going to happen. When we experience hardships that linger, so many people seem to have the natural response of, “God must be punishing me, He’s mad at me, trying to teach me something, etc.” In the vast majority of circumstances, I don’t think so. I want to convey to you that “rain” is just a part of life. Remember, the rain falls on the just and unjust (Matt. 5:45). Oh sure, we learn things in the rain, and, I suppose God is pleased when we do, but most of our walking in the rain is just part of what it means to be human. So, don’t compound the difficulties of your wet walk by an over active or sensitive conscience that beats up on yourself.
– There’s a way, an art of listening to God, of hearing God in the rain, that you cannot experience on sunny days. This idea of listening to God, hearing Him, (i.e. prayer) relates a bit to the point below, so I’ll be brief. When it’s a beautiful sunny day, I tend to take my walking skills out on the trail more for granted. Oh yes, I haven’t forgotten that even on a sunny day, in Him I live, move, and have my being (Acts 17:28), but walking on a sunny day is just easier. When it’s raining, on the trail, or in life, I feel my needs more. I pray more. Sometimes, of course, the prayers aren’t pretty: “Come on already, hasn’t it rained enough, I’m miserable!” Yet all the same, this prayer of need or lament is connecting me to Him.
– Walking in the rain is not all bad! The cliché of “April showers bring May flowers” is so true. But even before the “flowers”, there’s a beauty, a beat, a rhythm of pitter-patter, when you’re walking in the rain that becomes like an intimate conversation with the Creator. Again, I think of the word “need“. That is, when you are walking in the rain, you are more careful, more dependent, cognizant that you could make a misstep and fall at any moment. You learn not to take your trekking for granted. You become amazed you are making any progress at all. You feel vulnerable, needy. And, when the tent is pitched at the end of the day, you feel grateful. Yes, a bit miserable too, because you’re all wet (hopefully you have some dry clothes to climb into!), but grateful!
Finally, I wonder, does God take more pleasure in us when we choose, by faith, to keep walking in the rain (Heb.11:6)? Does He say about us, like He said of that long litany of faith-walkers, “the world was not worthy of them. They wandered . . .” (Heb. 11:38).
I suppose that’s enough for now (!), but friend, let me encourage you, keep walking in the rain. There’s stuff that’s happening to you, in you, and maybe even through you as you walk in the rain that you may never see during this earthly walk. But God sees you. So, keep on walking, even in the rain.