My children and their cousins longed to go outside but a heavy rainstorm sentenced them to indoor play. Some of them chopped firewood on the porch, others sat and read books, while still others played cards at the table.
The cabin, visible only from the caretaker’s place was our home for the holiday. My wife’s uncle was the caretaker and we were his guests. The cabin was set on a hillside and overlooked a small lake – the lake where my children learned to fish. Whether they were fishing from the boat dock, the “slippery dock”, or out on the water in the small aluminum boat, the bass were easy to catch. They seemed to jump onto the fishing hooks. The children had a lot of fun, even catching fish with homemade lures.
Usually rain wouldn’t deter the children from outside play but this storm dumped the water. The fishing, four-wheelers, and wood gathering would need to wait.
I was inside and enjoying the warmth of the crackling fire. But the solitude of the outdoors called to me. At times, life needs to be refreshed. This was one of those times for me. Not only did I need to get away from the city but I needed to get alone. I needed some time to think, to pray, to quiet myself before the Lord and to listen.
So, while the others milled about indoors, I took the opportunity to go out into the rain. I put on my jacket and hat, walked outside and down to the dock, and launched the canoe.
I knew some of the family were watching from the cabin window and thought I was crazy, but I didn’t care. I relished the time by myself. Just me, the Lord, and the wonders of nature.
I paddled away from the dock and toward the middle of the lake. In the center of the lake I paused. I looked around the lake and then back toward the cabin. Smoke rose from the cabin as family members talked and moved about behind the living room windows. I watched the rain hit the water; it pressed into the surface, bounced back, and left tiny craters. The rings formed by each raindrop merged into rings formed by thousands of other raindrops. The rain fell without wind, it was a rain which came not to disturb the landscape but to caress it softly. And as it caressed the earth it also worked on my soul. It was a rain which came not only to water the earth, but also to water my heart. As the raindrops pressed into the surface of the lake, they also pressed upon me. The storm was doing it’s work, a work unnoticed by others.
As I watched the raindrops I also looked for salamanders which are a familiar sight in the lake. They rise to the surface, take a breath, and quickly descend back to the muddy lake bottom. I didn’t see any “water dogs” that day in the rain. They must have been hiding in underwater bunkers. Or, maybe, they were going about the day like normal and the rain had obscured them from my vision. Maybe they rose to the surface, looked at me and questioned my sanity.
All was peace and quiet, except for the raindrops. I soaked up the moment, a moment longer than other moments, a moment filled with satisfaction, a moment which stands out from others for no other reason than it was mine alone to enjoy. On the water I was alone with my thoughts and resting in God’s goodness.
I prayed as I paddled across the lake. The God who is sovereign over nature was surely sovereign over my life. All my work troubles were gone in that moment, they were given to Him who makes the rain, the God who created the mountains, the Lord who created the earth. Surely the God who caused the rain could oversee the storms of my life. Surely He gave me this moment as an opportunity to worship Him, praise Him, trust Him.
God never promised ease or simplicity of life. He promised to never leave me, and He promised to be faithful. I know these truths, but like all of us, I need to be reminded of them from time to time. The best reminders come from reading Scripture and listening to faithful preaching and teaching. But God was kind enough that day to give me a different sort of reminder. He gave me a few moments of joy and rest, moments which linger in my soul. Alone in the rain, I was not alone – I was watched over by the Creator. As I sat in that canoe, God’s care for the earth joined with His concern for my soul.
Back at the cabin I took off wet clothes and warmed myself by the fire. The family was there playing games, telling stories, reading books. They asked if I had enjoyed the lake while out in the rain. What could I say in response? I said, yes. But the answer was insufficient. The enjoyment was more than met the eye of others. It was more than I could tell. It was a moment to be thankful for, a day to remember. I had been touched by the rain and the solitude, I had been alone, but not alone – for God was with me.