Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lessons in the Rain

Yesterday was one I'll never forget.

Monday night we went to the evening worship service at Winding Creek Camp in Hastings. There we picked up my 15 year old nephew to bring back to Lansing with us. We got him an extra ticket for the evening concert with Keb Mo and Bonnie Raitt. John is a great kid and a talented guitar player, so I knew this night was going to be something he'd enjoy. But we ended up with even more excitement than we had bargained for.

The gates were to open Tuesday at 5:30p with the first act coming on stage at 7:30p. But knowing that crowds could be huge (and that we really wanted to get up close to see Bonnie, one of our favorite artists)... Tracy dropped John and I off at the gate with our lawn chairs to get in line early. We set up camp at about 2:30p and settled in for the long haul. And everything was going great. That is...until it started to sprinkle. We thought, "Hey this is no big deal. A little water never hurt anybody". But somewhere around 3:00p all that changed. Around that time, the heavens broke forth and the water did surge downward and the flooding began. We sat hunched over with our head on our knees trying to keep somewhat dry. Surronded by our 84 cent ponchos, it didn't take long until every inch was drenched. We sat there as the gutters turned into raging rivers. At one point I think I saw Noah float by!

But our endurance was rewarded with a center seat in row 6 (and that's in a venue that can hold close to 10,000). Unfortunately the rain didn't stop. Have you ever had to wear clothes that were soaking wet for up to 10 hours? It is not for the weak of heart! And let me just say that Bonnie Raitt now ranks as #1 in my book for artists who are devoted to their fans. Her band continued to play on a leaky stage which was potentially ruining their instruments and equipment. But as long as people were willing to stay, she was determined to give them their money's worth (even if she ended up electrocuted by the wires running through puddles on stage)!

One AH-AH moment of the evening (I'm always looking for ah-ah's a sickness)... was when we were standing there after another short burst of hard rain. John pointed and said, "Look up there". We thought it had pretty much stopped (for a least a moment) and had taken off our hoods. I turned around and saw that he was pointing at some spotlights shining over our heads. Our perception in the darkness was that the rain had stopped for a moment. But in the light you could see that the rain was still pouring down and was brightly illuminated.

Because we were in darkness and were already completely drenched by the water, we were unable to perceive that it was still raining. But that beam of light revealed something that we could not perceive.

It made me wonder how often I am in things and surrounded by them in ways that I don't even perceive. But I am so thankful for the light of Christ. His brightness reveals things that I don't even realize. Sometimes it is painful to realize how soaked by sin our lives often become. But once we come to grips with the mess that we're in...that is when we can choose the freedom that Christ's love brings.