Dr. Billy Holland: When praying for rain, don’t forget your raincoat
Dr. William F. "Billy" Holland Jr. is an ordained minister, community chaplain and author of the "Living on Purpose" faith column. He lives in central Kentucky with his wife, Cheryl.
We’ve heard the old saying that life is not a bed of roses for as long as we can remember. I understand what it’s trying to convey, but I’ve also thought it would not be all that great to lie down on a bed of sharp thorns. Nevertheless, the point is that life will have its ups and downs and most of us will experience our share of hard times.
Whether it’s a financial worry, a medical situation, relationship problems or being concerned for the condition of the world, life is a daily challenge. However, amid all that is going on, we have the opportunity to know God who is an endless source of love, authority and hope.
We can choose to embrace the encouraging truth that He cares about our problems and to believe that He has the answers and the power to give us the victory no matter how dark the night or how tall our mountain. “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” II Corinthians 9:8.
Yes, there are seasons and potholes in the road, but these trials can help us learn about faith and patience. However, God never intended for a crisis to keep us incarcerated in the bondage of spiritual defeat. Despite being surrounded by negative forces, we can receive divine grace through Christ to abide in His presence where there is an abundance of joy, security, and peace.
In John 10:10-11 Christ declares, “The thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: but I (Jesus) have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” Whatever the situation, God has promised that He wants to save and protect you and bring you through your trials stronger and more confident than ever.
The thoughts of God supplying our needs are wonderful and true spiritual realities, but there is also a very important component in receiving His abundant blessings and that is our responsibility to believe. If we do not have faith, it’s not only impossible to please Him but highly unlikely that His miracles can be activated into our life.
In Jeremiah chapter 29, we see in verse 11 that we are always on His mind and He has planned very good things for us to enjoy. But continuing in the context, the next two verses mention for us to take the initiative to call upon Him, pray and seek His presence with all of our heart which, of course, includes the element of trust and assurance. Knowledge that He can help us must be transformed into a personal revelation that He will.
I recall a story about a small farming community that had been experiencing a terrible drought. The crops were dying in the fields and everyone was worried and anxious because this is how they made their living.
The pastor of the local church called a special prayer service for all the people of the town to gather in front of the church and spend some time agreeing in faith that God would send some rain. Many people arrived and you could sense the seriousness among the crowd.
As the pastor was getting ready to begin the meeting, he saw a young girl standing quietly in the front. His eyes were drawn to her bright yellow raincoat and her face was beaming with excitement. She was holding a large umbrella and, as he wished he had brought one himself, seeing how she believed suddenly gave him a surge of hope and confidence.
The little girl’s childlike innocence warmed his heart as he realized how much faith she possessed. Though the town had come together to pray for rain, there was not an anticipation of getting wet, and he wondered if they really believed a miracle was going to happen.
A life without a positive and hopeful expectation of God’s goodness reveals the miserable pessimist who abides in the shadows of fear, negativity and sadness. The kingdom of darkness along with our default human nature is constantly telling us it’s impossible, it’s risky, it’s hopeless, but faith believes that nothing is too difficult for God and all things are possible with Him. Every person is sent an invitation to place their trust in God, but sadly many choose to embrace doubt instead.