Posted by: mikenicholsblog | August 24, 2017

not sunshine all the time

Monday was one of those priceless days. The moon moved in front of the sun and caused a visual display that was beyond words … especially for those who were in the direct path of the eclipse, like our daughter in Nashville. For a short time the sun was covered and the day darkened. There are, quite literally, days for all of us where it seems like our day is dark and we wonder if the sun will ever shine again.

When I relate my spiritual journey to sunshine and clouds, my emotions prefer sunshine all the time. And if you are honest, you probably feel the same way. Although we know better, it seems that subconsciously we tend to say, “If I am serving and obeying Christ,” life will be sunshine all the time. When the difficulties of life give us a pattern of rain and stormy weather, our expectations can turn quickly to questioning and disillusionment about our journey. A strong believer once said to me during a stormy period, “faith is great … after the fact.”

Figuratively, I was drawn to this thought while reading about Peter and some disciples going fishing after Christ was resurrected. Things were different now, their lives had forever changed. I don’t know, but I wonder if life seemed a bit cloudy to them at that point? You have heard the story of the men fishing and catching nothing. From the shore Jesus spoke to them and told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They caught 153 fish and met Jesus on shore for breakfast. Then there is the great encounter where Christ restores Peter. You have heard the words from this scene often, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” At the end of this exchange, Peter is given an indication of how he would die, and then Jesus tells him, “Follow me.” The whole series of events just described look like anything but sunshine all the time, nor should they.

There are various opinions on why Peter and the disciples went fishing and what Jesus meant by questioning Peter’s love. But the fact is, Christ showed up at a critical point for Peter and the others. And although He will never choose to let us live with endless spiritual sunshine, He will show up for us whatever the weather, just as He did for Peter and the disciples. If you and I are serious about faith and serving Him, we will relish clouds and rain knowing that a Perfect Hand is directing our journey. And we never have to worry about Him showing up at just the right time (His right time, not ours).

As I was thinking on this passage and Christ showing up, I was reminded of a song that my wife has fallen in love with. It expresses the realistic view that our spiritual journey is not sunshine all the time. It carries more weight with me because of the life struggle that songwriter Laura Story and her husband experienced with his illness. Look at the depth and honest view that Laura gives us with a few words from her song, Blessings.

Chorus…

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

The song’s ending…

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?

Peter, Laura, you, and I will never live under an endless sun-lit sky. God chooses and allows the rain and the storms. And although our emotions cry for sunshine, we know that rain and storms are a necessary part of our journey. Christ showed up for Peter, and He knows when to show up for you. Determine to rest in His mercy whether the sun shines bright, or storms threaten. The Son knows when to shine His mercy into your life!


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