This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt today is “rain.”
As soon as I checked the weather forecast, I knew that going to the beach was not a good idea.
Despite the fact that it was July, the forecast for the following day was for heavy rain all day. There was even a severe weather warning! In Scotland we’re used to rain, but this looked extreme.
I was leading a camp for a group of young people and the next day was meant to involve a trip to the beach along with two other groups that were in different parts of the same centre, so I went to speak to the other leaders so that we could come up with a back-up plan.
To my surprise they were completely unconcerned about the weather warning. I protested that we should take it seriously- it wasn’t just a few showers; it was torrential rain all day- but they wouldn’t listen.
Eventually I was told:
“Just have faith! We’ll pray about it and it will be fine.”
In the end there was nothing I could do. I was outnumbered and I couldn’t persuade them, so the next morning we loaded all the young people onto the bus, ready for the beach.
At that point there was light rain, but the other leaders assured me it would be fine when we got there. They had prayed after all!
Needless to say we arrived to be greeted with a downpour unlike anything I have ever seen. We were drenched within about 30 seconds of getting off the bus and after rushing around in and out of cafes and shops for an hour or so, people were soaked through three layers of clothing!
It was a truly miserable day.
We did manage to pull it back later in the day by finding a ten-pin bowling alley that was willing to take 100 soggy teenagers at short notice, but that trip has gone down in history with leaders obsessively checking the weather forecast before every beach trip and getting anxious if there is even a hint of rain.
To be fair to the other leaders who overruled me, they sincerely apologised later and the one who had told me to “just have faith and pray” told me later that it had been the most embarrassing thing she had done that year! We laugh about it now! 🙂
But I’ve seen the same attitude from other people in other situations. There are warnings of difficult times ahead: concerning medical symptoms, worrying tensions in a relationship, financial difficulties looming- and they say:
“Just have faith and it will all be ok.”
“Just pray and God will heal you.”
“Don’t worry- God will sort it out.”
I know they mean well, but nowhere does God promise an easy life, even if we are following him. Bad things happen, even to Christians, and most of the time the cause is not a lack of faith.
Our hope cannot be in God stopping the rain. He can, but that doesn’t mean he always will. Sometimes the warnings are accurate; sometimes the storm does come.
Our hope has to come from the fact that no matter what we face, he is with us in it, and that ultimately he has overcome.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)