I would classify myself as “expressive.” I think anyone who knows me would agree with that. One of my favorite things is praise and worship, I love expression during worship. I am a fan of raising my hand when a song makes me feel humbled or joyful or if I am showing praise. I know that this type of worship is not for everyone, I have a deep love and respect for a quieter more rote type of worship. I have attended many services like that over the years, they are beautiful and I enjoyed them. But, I still find myself wandering back to the more expressive praise and worship. I relate to it better. I was thinking about this tonight when I was out for a walk. I had my ear buds in, had Pandora set on contemporary Christian radio and I was enjoying the beautiful evening. A song came on that was particularly meaningful to me and I am sure I was singing out loud, although I really don’t remember. I needed the music and the lyrics, they were like refreshment to my soul. I was so caught up in that moment that I nearly raised my hand to worship right there in the middle of the street. Probably wouldn’t have been a big deal if I hadn’t already been singing. The combo of singing to music no one else could hear and raising my hand while doing it might not have set well with the neighbors. And then, while I was totally caught up in the moment, I felt it. What, you ask? A rain drop. No big deal, I’m thinking, I can beat the rain back to my car. So I tried to pick up my pace, but, sadly, I am nursing an ankle injury so I could only walk slightly faster and with a limp. Feeling fabulous at this point, singing, almost raising my hand to this wonderful song, limping along kind of awkwardly trying to beat the rain, I was still hopeful that I could make it back to my car before it got too bad. I decided to pray, feeling like the Lord might just answer any prayer I prayed right then. “Lord, please let the rain be slight so I can get back to my car, okay? You are so good to me. Amen.” The rain starts to fall harder. Well, maybe the Lord wants me to walk in the rain, I tell myself. My fabulous song ends and my ankle is starting to bother me more, and now I am starting to get genuinely wet, so I pick up the pace. (You have no idea how much hair spray I have on my hair, so it was starting to be a big deal.) I look around me and there were no other walkers or runners out, how did this happen? How could I be the only one who did not see the signs of rain? This walk had started out so pleasant. Well, when I thought about it, there was that dark place in the sky and, I guess, the wind had come up suddenly out of nowhere, I just thought that was a blessing from the Lord to cool things down. (I should’ve known better, sudden wind like that is a sign to any lower Alabamian that rain is on the way.) In retrospect, I guess I could’ve seen the signs if I had looked. I even have radar on my phone to avoid this very thing from happening. Why didn’t I look? But, I just took off haphazardly assuming everything was gonna be okay, praising God and being naive. This is exactly how I live my life sometimes, I just head off in whatever direction, not preparing myself or looking around to see if it’s safe, not praying or asking God, I just barrel off in the direction I want to go and hope for the best, singing all the while. Then I get upset with God if it starts to “rain,” oh, at first it’s okay, because it’s not really enough to dampen my spirit, but when life’s storms come for real, and the rain messes up my hair, I get bothered. I mean, why would he let it rain on my perfectly good day (decision)? He could stop it if he wanted to. Looking back I think, if only I had been more attentive, it all could have probably been avoided. Now, I know there are storms of life that are unavoidable and cannot possibly be planned for, but some of the storms that I find myself in are because I wasn’t really watching the warning signs. That direction, decision, person (insert whatever fits best for you here) just looked good to me, so I headed in that direction. Such a life lesson for me. Be prayerful not only during the walk, but before. Anyway, I ended up getting pretty wet (soaked) and took cover under the porch of a vacant house. Thankfully, I have some friends who watch out for me and who saw me walking off carelessly in spite of the apparently obvious pending rain and came looking for me. (Seriously, we all need these types of friends, the ones who have our back, but that’s another story.) So, I was rescued and spared any further embarrassment, pain, and humiliation, whatever… I drove home wet and contemplative. I promised myself that next time I would look for the signs. And maybe check the radar too.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”