I went to two weddings in the last few weeks. Both were family weddings. Both were Christian weddings. Both were outdoor weddings.
The second wedding was all sunshine. But the first wedding rained.
A couple weeks before each wedding, I started to pray for good weather. I watched the weather app on my smartphone. The locations were saved so I could access them easily.
When we arrived at the first wedding, the clouds looked a little ominous. I opened my app to consult the radar. Then there was a sort of misty wetness. Good thing I brought my coat. Then a light rain. And my umbrella. By the time the wedding was over, it was a steady rain.
Believe it or not, it was a barefoot wedding. I kept my shoes on.
As we sat there waiting for the wedding to start, I wondered, how’s the pastor going to handle this one? He was a youngish, optimistic looking guy. But he was a piece of work, in the best sort of way.
He began by welcoming us all with only a passing mention of the weather. Later, he was forced to acknowledge the situation, but he was undaunted. I don’t know if he googled them, but he had a lot of ready Bible verses about the blessing of rain.
At one point, my husband whispered there might be lightning, but it turned out to be only the flash photography.
And I wondered, why. Everyone was praying for a sunny day. At least a dry day. This sweet, Christian couple with all their hopes and plans…. Why rain, Lord?
The pastor continued. He told the beaming couple that from this day forward whenever it rained, they would remember their wedding. The day that God literally poured down on them.
Someone in the audience stood up next to the bride to cover her with his umbrella, but she thanked him and told him he could sit down. She wanted to feel the rain, she said.
And I’m not exaggerating when I say that her makeup never ran and her hair never fell.
And I pondered. Is this just optimism? Or insanity? Or a different starting point….
It seemed to me that they had a totally different way of viewing things than I. They started with God and looked Out. They really believed God was With them, so they just had to figure out how the rain was a gift.
Lord, give me a double portion of their spirit!
I remember years ago when one of my sisters was applying for a teaching position in her town. She was a single mother who had lost so much. Our wider family was praying hard for this opportunity. She needed the money and the benefits badly. I actually prayed and fasted for a couple days, so determined to see her story change. So when I got the call that she didn’t get the job, I felt gutted. Shaken, actually.
Around that time, one of my older brothers visited us on his way to Europe. I haltingly shared with him how I had prayed and how discouraged I was in my faith.
“You prayed and fasted?” he inquired carefully. “Oh, thank God. I’m relieved!”
“Now I know she wasn’t supposed to get that job!” he exclaimed.
A different starting point. Something to think about. Maybe this is what the face of faith looks like.
And now as I sit in the sunshine of the second wedding, I wonder. Two weddings. Two beautiful Christian weddings. God is with both of these couples. Rain or shine. We just need to be able to see it.
I guess we cannot choose our stories…. But maybe we can choose the interpretation of them. Instead of examining God through our circumstances, maybe we can examine our circumstances through God.
Look, I’m not saying that the next time it rains on my parade I’m going to dance in it. I’m just saying I’m going think twice before I give up hope.
When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17