I was sitting by the window on my way back home from North Carolina. 21A on United Airlines to be exact (no shade since I get to fly for free - eh hem). The airplane was filled but somehow the seat next to me ended up empty. YAAAASSS. While I love people and engaging in random, possibly purpose-filled conversation, this morning, I just wanted to catch up on some rest. I fastened my seat belt while the pilot advised to stay seated over the intercom. There was nothing particularly remarkable about this flight. It was a rainy morning and all I really wanted to do was snuggle in my bed with some hot Teavana Jade Citrus Mint tea and a good book.
As I position my neck pillow just right so that I can lean between my seat and the window, I cross my arms and close my eyes. My thoughts begin to drift to all the things I need to get done this week. I was filled with emotions and clouded by the sense of overwhelming responsibility and helplessness all at once. As I'm sinking into my seat I slowly shift to feel the anticipatory desire of getting home to see my baby girl. Goodness how I missed her and her rambunctious personality! I could already hear her pitchy voice screaming, "Mamiiiiiiiiiiii. Oh how I missed you" as she jumps on me and hugs my neck. This lifted my heart and I smiled. I was filled with gratitude because in all things, God has been so gracious. He does all things well.
I open my eyes and look out of the window. I realize that we have reached optimal altitude and we're cruising above the clouds. Suddenly, my eyes get fixed on how bright the sun is shining. I feel a warmth and peace that can only be explained by the beauty of God's presence. I take my phone out of my pocket and snap a picture. I was reminded how on the ground, the skies were gray and the day seemingly gloomy. The sun was nowhere in sight. One would think that the sun just isn't present when it rains. But with great amazement, once above it, I could see the sun shining ever so brightly and beautifully. I was reminded by a word Shaun (my best friend and father of our daughter) shared years ago, "the sun always shine above the clouds."
Our days may be filled with gloomy realities and rainy treading, but the SON is still shining. The SON may be out of our sight, but God is just as much God during the cloudy days, as He is when He's evident in our lives. Faith is believing that He is, even when we can't see who and how He is. It's easy to be grateful for the SON when the skies are clear and the birds are chirping, but faith is most evident in those days where staying inside of ourselves is easier than stepping out. Faith is most evident when it seems like hope is far from our reach but we decide to trust God's plans rather than our own.
The clouds and rain feel inconvenient. And the truth is, there is something about the clouds and rain that evoke emotions we would rather tuck away. Rainy days fill us with memories, moments and even music that remind us of what we've been through or are currently going through. Rainy days can be discouraging if we allow them to cloud our perspective. Rainy days would be more bearable if we admit what we feel (no use in pretending like we just don't have feelings), but we are empowered when we learn to reroute those feelings to be fueled by faith.
You see, rainy days promise watered fields and gardens. Without the rain, farmers would be deficient and crops would be lost. Without the rain, we would lack the life of fruit producing trees. Without the rain, we would dismiss the beauty of sunny days. Without rain, we wouldn't take the time to pause and receive the rain that washes away our tears and soothes our soul.
So today I am grateful for Jesus, the SON that never stops shining, even when the clouds appear to hide His presence. I'm grateful for the rainy days, that I get to learn how to dance, sing and drink yummy tea in.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. [Psalm 84:11, NIV]