It rained here on Friday -- a good, soaking rain that my garden loved. Apparently, so did my oldest daughter. As we were driving in the car, she said "I hope it keeps raining, so I can play in the rain."
My kids don't play in the rain on a regular basis. Kansas is home to severe thunderstorms in the spring and summer, which negates the possibility of playing while it's raining. Lightning tends to put a damper on the playfulness of the situation. The only other type of rain we get is generally the cold, freezing kind, which doesn't make for good playing either.
But one day last summer, we had a passing shower. It might have rained for about 20 minutes with no threat of lightning. My daughter had some friends over, and they went out and danced in the rain. They splashed in puddles and generally had a fantastic time. They got soaked, but they dried. My daughter remembers that as one of the most fun experiences she's ever had. And she's been looking for another opportunity to play and dance in the rain ever since.
Too many times when figurative rain falls in our lives, we don't view it as an opportunity to rejoice. We let the situation suck the joy out of our lives. And we teach our kids to do the same.
Sick kids, lost jobs and other crises don't, at first glance, seem like a time to rejoice. But, neither does a rainstorm look like an opportunity to dance. The thing is that circumstances should not have the ability to suck away our joy because joy is not dependent on our circumstances. We can dance in the rain because our joy is found in God, not our circumstances.
Paul says in Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" This statement from a man sitting in a Roman prison at the time. The rain was pouring on his head, yet he was encouraging others to rejoice in God.
Use your next rainstorm to teach your kids to find joy in God even in the most trying situation. Choose a "safe" rain and take your kids outside. Let them play and get soaked. While you're out there, talk with your kids about how the rain is like the bad stuff that happens in our lives. It comes down and it soaks us. If we let it, it can rob us of our joy, just like the rain makes us unhappy if we're stuck inside all the time or it cancels an event we've been looking forward to.
Explain that we can choose to dance and play in the rain in spite of those things. And, we can choose to find joy even in the most difficult circumstances. Talk about how happiness and joy are different. Happiness comes from things that happen around us. Joy comes from God. We can choose to be joyful because we know that God is with us. Our circumstances may be difficult, but God is bigger than our circumstances. We can always be joyful because He loves us and is always with us.
So, when the rain is pouring down on your head, turn your face toward the sky and let it soak you. Turn your back on your circumstances and find your joy in knowing God keeps His promises. Your situation may not change but your heart will.