Rain, sunshine & shadow
Category : Uncategorized
Did the sun rise over your corner of the world this morning, reaching its warm fingertips to tickle open your sleepy eyes? Or maybe you awoke to the drumbeat of raindrops on your roof and windows? These are some of the elements that speak of our Creator God’s love for all mankind: both those who revere Him and those who ignore Him.
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good , and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust,” said Christ Jesus in Matthew 5:45, explaining why you and I should “love [our] enemies, bless them that curse [us], do good to them that hate [us], and pray for them which despitefully use [us] and persecute [us].” In other words, when we respond with kindness to those who treat us unkindly, we are more like God, who offers good things each day to all of us, however undeservedly.
Theologians (people who study God and His character) call this gift of unmerited goodness “common grace.” Though we break his law and disobey his commands or deny his existence completely, He patiently holds back his judgment as though waiting for us to come to our senses and return to Him.
The Earth and its place in the universe illustrate God’s majestic power over everything. Its beauty and wonder —in the form of sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, the development of a child, the growth of crops that feed and clothe us— should invite us to call upon Him, to thank and praise Him, to ask His forgiveness. “The heavens declare the flory of God: and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech no language, where their voice is not heard,” exlaims Psalm 19:1-3. Have you heard God’s creation speaking to you about His goodness?
But maybe you got up this morning before the sun rose, or there is currently a drought in your area. Perhaps you wonder whether God has withdrawn his common grace from your life. A similar question struck a man whose great personal struggles are recorded in the book of the Bible that bears his name —Job. Despite Job’s upright life and reverence for God, his Creator allowed Job to lose all of his wealth, health, and even his children in a series of tragic events. As Job surveyed the drastic change in his circumstances with an appropriate attitude of mourning. He tore his clothes, shaved his head, and sat down on the ground. With nearly nothing left, he still had a choice. His wife also recognized the decision each one would have to make. “Curse God, and die,” she advised her ailing husband.
Instead, Job chose to continue to worship God. “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). The Bible tells us in the very next line that this was the correct attitude for the situation. “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
So whether you see the sunshine or the shadows today, whether the rain falls or the dry ground crackles, God’s grace is present in your life and His free offer of salvation and eternal life is for anyone who believes in His Son, Jesus Christ —“the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6a).