The first hints of the incoming storm blew through my open window. The air, fresh, cool and crisp, lingers around and fills the room as I wake up from a late afternoon nap. The clouds have moved in and taken over the sun and it has gotten dark. It seems much later in the day than it really is. I wonder what time it is anyway.
As I roll over to see the clock, I am startled at something lying on my bed beside me. It’s 3:30; I’ve been sleeping for over two hours. What was I doing when I fell asleep? I look down and see my bible open to the Book of Luke that I had been reading before I dozed off. My heart sinks as I feel a deep regret about falling asleep at the feet of Jesus, yet again. Why can’t I stay awake? Why am I finding it so hard to talk to God about anything? Off in the distance there is a low rumble of thunder and I sit up and put my feet over the edge of the bed.
From my bed I can see out my window. The traffic driving on the freeway is moving at its ever steady pace. I can see the trees moving as the wind begins to pick up and the birds that are flying around are starting to show signs of struggling against the strong breeze. It’s going to be a great storm. I hope I will see it from here. As I stand up to stretch, I can smell the rain that is coming. I take in a deep breath and sigh. This is the first big rain of the season. I can’t wait to watch it.
As I turn to straighten up my bed, I see my bible again. What was I reading? I scan the page for something to remind me of what I had been reading and as I reach the “Parable of the Lost Son” there is a louder rumble of thunder. Awe, that’s it. I begin to read it again. As I read about the Lost Son, I am struck with a sense of looking in a mirror. There is a familiar tug at my heart, a quickening of my breathing and a sick sinking feeling in my stomach. Does God see me as being lost? Another roll of thunder. I feel lost. I feel like I’m wandering around in a circle and have no way out of that circle. Where are you God? Why do I feel so far away from you? Yet, another roll of thunder, this time a little louder. The storm is getting closer.
When I look out the window again, it has gotten even darker than it was when I woke up. There was a sudden burst of wind through the open window and the curtain flies in the room. Suddenly, the wind stops, the birds have stopped flying and singing, and the air has stopped moving. Here it comes! As I turn to find my shoes, I hear the rain start to come down. I have to go stand out in the rain.
As I make my way down the hall, I can hear the rain getting heavier on the roof. I can hear the thunder getting closer and louder. Down the stairs I run and out the front door. As I walk out the door, the rain hits my face and I am slightly shocked at the coolness of it. This is so refreshing. As I make my way to the field, I can see the clouds getting darker still. There is a flash of lightening and shortly after a loud clap of thunder. The rain falls harder and the field feels like a soggy sponge under my feet. My shoes are getting soaked and my clothes are dripping but I don’t care.
I stand in the field, my arms out from my side, my head back and I can feel the rain on my face. I’m crying. Why am I crying? My heart is chocking me and I can’t hold back the sobs. God, please take me back! I have taken the life you have given me and squandered it, abused it, locked it away and not shared it. Please forgive me and take me back! Please meet me here and let me know you still love me! Suddenly there was a flash of lightening and a huge clap of thunder. With my eyes closed I prayed for His forgiveness. The rain on my face washed away the tears of my eyes and I let it all soak in. There was a warm feeling on my hands, my arms, my shoulders, my body, as if I was being hugged. The rain fell harder and I cried harder. The cries felt refreshing and went from being tears of sorrow to tears of joy and release. Thank you!
When I opened my eyes and looked back at the house, I could see the sun coming out from behind the black clouds. There were rays of light beaming down and the rain began to let up. I couldn’t help but smile. The tears were letting up with the rain. There was nothing left to cry about and the rain had nothing left to wash away. I will be ok. I’m coming back Lord, Please show me the way.
When I got back to my room, I changed my clothes and put on warm socks and a sweater. I picked up my bible again and began to re-read the story of the Lost Son. The only line that jumped out to me was this “But while he was still a long way off, he saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” I love you Lord. I’m sorry. Thank you for not leaving me and for running to me.
As I turn to leave my room, I glance out the window one last time. There across the sky is a rainbow. Its colors are vibrant and crisp. The sky behind it is dark and I can see the rain falling on another part of the city. I am filled with a peace that leaves me smiling as if I have a secret that I can’t wait to tell people about the time I cried in the rain and met with God.