Written by Dave Lamb
Monday, 12 August 2013 00:00
I was running in the rain a few weeks ago. Later that day, a friend from work who spotting me on my rainy run asked, “Why do you run in the rain?” (Usually when friends honk at me on my runs, I wave, but without my glasses I have no idea who I’m waving to.)
I said, “I like to run in the rain.” I don’t understand the fear of rain. If it rains we stay inside, we use umbrellas, we cancel golf tournaments and baseball games (but not football…). We don’t go on runs.
I like the rain. I don’t like the fact that it makes my hair frizzy, but compared to the bigger problems facing humanity (national debt, climate change, royal baby names), a little moisture on the head seems trivial.
The main thing I like about running in the rain is that it connects me to God. God dwells in the heavens, humans dwell on the earth. Rain connects heaven to earth.
Psalm 68 captures this idea as it describes God with his people in the wilderness.
Psalm 68:7-10 (NRSV)
O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
8the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain at the presence of God,
the God of Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
9Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad;
you restored your heritage when it languished;
10your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness,
O God, you provided for the needy.
OK, so God and his people were not running, but they were marching, slightly slower than running, as they went through the wilderness. Then the heavens poured down rain, and they didn’t go inside or under their umbrellas, they said, “bring it on.” They saw the rain as a blessing.
Why was rain good? Because it represented two good things.
First, rain represented God’s presence. Rain came from heaven where God dwelt and the rain in Psalm 68 is clearly connected to God being with his people. He used the pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night to guide them (Exo. 13:21-22), but according to Psalm 68, he also used a shower of rain to signify that he was with them. He was God with them, not technically in the flesh, but in the water.
Second, rain represented God’s provision. God rained abundantly. He showered rain everywhere, which somehow restored his heritage as it languished. God’s goodness was connected to how he provided rain for his people. It was a way he provided for the needy. We all need water. God provides it with rain.
Next time it rains, don’t avoid it, bask it, run in it. Gene Kelly advises singing in it, which is good, but remember who sends the rain. Thank God for it, and connect to the God that provided the rain.
What do you do in the rain?
I should probably stop writing, our grass is long, it’s going to rain, and I don’t like mowing in the rain.
David Lamb is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Biblical. He’s the husband of Shannon, father of Nathan and Noah, and the author of God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist?He blogs regularly at http://davidtlamb.com/. See also http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/david-lamb.