It’s raining today, and though that may not be that big of a deal to some people, it is a huge deal to me. I grew up in a place where it doesn’t rain much, and when it did rain, it was a big deal. But more than the fact that our economy relied heavily on rain to support the cotton and cattle industry, rain became a welcomed sight in my heart and mind because it offered a unique opportunity.
You see, my father has been a cotton farmer for as long as I have been alive, and that is an egregiously difficult occupation to be in when your ability to produce a crop is dependent on a factor, over which, you have no control. For the Dry-Land (non-irrigated) cotton farmer, work is only half the battle. Land is prepared, rows are built, chemicals are dispersed, seed is planted, and prayers are raised…
Work can be done, but unless it rains, there is no crop. Seeds will lie dormant for months in the soil waiting on God to determine their fate, and with it, the fate of the farmer and his family. But when it rains, work begins to pay off. Plans begin to come together. Stress is reduced for the moment, and farmers take a long-overdue break.
I can remember my dad coming home from the field at the last possible second before the deluge hit. He prolonged his work as long has he could so that when he finally came home, he could sit back and know that he had done all that could be done to prepare for God’s blessing. I remember him coming in the front door to our house, taking his shoes off and walking straight to his recliner. He most often sat, closed his eyes, laid his head back and took a few moments to himself. His usually stern eyes would soften a bit, and he would even laugh. My dad would transform in those brief moments as his worries and stress melted away with every drop of rain.
Seeing this happen began a stirring in my heart that disabled my ADHD brain from focusing on anything but the fact that my dad was home. I never prayed as hard as I did then. I prayed that the rain would never stop. I prayed that my dad could stay this happy, and this refreshed forever…
I wish today that I had told him that. I wish that I could have articulated how valuable it was to have him home, but to be honest, I don’t think I understood it then. I didn’t understand at that time why it meant so much to see my dad home, and to see him happy, but now that I am older, I realize how hard he worked. I see how much he did to provide for my mom, my brothers, and me. I shake his hand today and I feel the years of toil those hands have endured, and am reminded of the fact that I am the beneficiary of that work. Callused hands, scars, and swollen knuckles all backed by a surprisingly strong grip remind me of decades spent subduing Adam’s curse.
Remarks about the scars or the near constant pain of his body are shrugged away for more pleasant conversation. Overlooked because of the fact that his eyes were nearly always fixed on his work. Not the work of raising cotton, but the desire he had to raise sons. Seasons spent investing, hoping, and praying that God would see fit to pour Himself into our lives. Hard work in the field always comingled with scriptural references about wisdom, determination, and honor.
But I have no field.
How will I teach my son those same lessons? How will I raise my son to fear the Lord, to work hard, and to be respectful to all people? How will I instill the same work ethic, love for the church, and passion for the scripture that my dad taught us?
I hope it starts with rainy days. Days where I can take hold of my son and share joy, laughter, and love; days that contrast work with rest. Days that make rest matter because they are viewed with the backdrop of hard work.
Sometimes when I get home from work, my son is waiting on me, and even though he is only a year old, he is overjoyed when I walk through our front door. I hope I remember to take time to be home when I can, to invest in him, and to raise a son who honors me by honoring the Father.
I hope that when my son is my age, he will look back and be reminded that when dark clouds rolled in and rain came, that daddy was close by.
Recently working with a good friend, I was reminded of a passage that I love. John 1:1-5 is one of the more theological passages of the New Testament as it adds a great deal of information about the person and godhood of Jesus.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:1-5 [ESV]
I was primarily reminded of the last verse. Darkness has not, and will not overcome the Light of Jesus. I can’t really even describe how this idea makes me feel. Jesus has invaded the darkness of sin, and death, and that darkness cannot overcome His light! We could beat around the bush about the symbolism, and try to make some contrasts within the created world, but the reassurance that I feel is directly linked to the fact that my sin has been overcome by Jesus’ blood.
I am humbled to know that my ability to walk free from my own sin comes at the cost of the Son of the Most High God!
This revelation makes the Great Commission possible. I can walk into the world each day knowing that I have been washed clean. Bathed in the light of Christ. And that the darkness that lurks within the world will not overcome me. I am a righteous soldier in the army of God and I fight against an opponent who has enslaved those who do not yet know Jesus. My fight is not against the enslaved, but against the deceiver who controls them. I fight against the darkness to free those who would be taken by Satan.
Jesus is my light, and I will shine that light into the darkest places.