new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Liquid Sunshine

Forgive me for stating the obvious—It rained all summer. Farmers in particular suffered as silage cuts were delayed, fields turned into quagmires, crops got battered by rain, harvests were late, animals had to be kept inside. It was a tough summer for the farmers. Much and all as the rest of us were disappointed every time we opened the curtains to another dreich day—how much more those in the farming community.

These months are meant to be a delight, the warmth of the sun on your backs, working long hours—yes, but getting a lot done in the time. Not plowtering about in puddles and soaked through to the skin, day after day.

And then came two glorious weeks of sun. Typically it was in September when schools were back! Farmers were like men unleashed. Tractors roared across fields, crops were harvested, silage was cut. Roads were clogged with machinery—and somehow it was okay because we knew they had been penned up all summer. And we loved it too—not perhaps the wafting smell of freshly spread slurry, but the sunshine.

Like children let loose in a sweetie shop we got out our barbecues and barbecued for all we were worth, we sunbathed and crammed a summer’s worth of sunburn into a couple of weekends. We walked around lobster red, with pride. We wanted all those who had fled to the Med to see that we had had sun too.

One farmer said recently “I wonder how many people will stop and thank God for the sunshine?”

He’s right to ask that. It’s so easy to take these things for granted. But at the same time, I don’t think God’s desperately looking for our thanks; that would be to miss the point. The farmer went on to say, “It’s rained all summer—that’s all it took for us to be utterly helpless.”

That perhaps is the key thing. God doesn’t particularly want to teach us lessons in thankfulness, he wants us to see that we are not the great masters of our destiny that we like to think we are. For all our machinery and technology, a little rain left us helpless.

He doesn’t simply want our thanks, he wants us. He wants us to humble ourselves and cast aside the shackles of self-sufficiency and pride. Ultimately, and perhaps surprisingly, the rain was a messenger of mercy, reminding us that we need God more than we realise. And much and all as we hate the rain, we need to listen to its message.