Ericka Henry – Lead Life Group Pastor, Mesa Campus
There is no such thing as new rain.
Have you ever thought about this? I remember learning about the water cycle in elementary school—how the rain from the oceans gets sucked up into the sky, condenses and falls back down in the form of rain, snow, or ice — only to get sucked right back up and start the cycle all over. I remember the awe I felt when my teacher explained to us that the rain that fell on the dinosaurs is the same rain that falls on us today. Even at such a young age, I yearned to be connected to something bigger than myself, to know that I was linked somehow to something that existed long before me.
But not everyone is as fascinated with rain as I am. In fact, rain is often associated with sadness and hard times. When it rains it pours, right? There is a reason why we view the most heart-wrenching scenes in our favorite films and novels through blurry windowpanes covered in raindrops. Rain functions as an analogy for the most painful moments in our lives. And so, when we read Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:45, we nod our heads in agreement and say, “Yes. Good things happen to good and bad people. Bad things happen to good and bad people. This is how the world has always been.”
And this makes sense, right? Because there is no such thing as new rain. The same pain, the same loss, the same isolation, the same striving—the same rain has been falling on humankind for as long as we can remember, falls on us. Pouring down, soaking in, rising up, starting over.
Not even Jesus was exempt from the pain cycle. In Isaiah 53:3, Jesus is depicted as the Suffering Servant, as a Man of Sorrows:
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
The picture can feel pretty bleak. If Jesus, who was perfect – fully God and fully man – had to endure such pain, what hope do we have? Our hearts cry out with the disciples, “Who then can be saved?” Will there ever be an end to this cycle of pain?
The truth is, I don’t know when the pain will end for us, or for you. But here is what I do know: there is no such thing as new rain, and that means that the same rain that is falling on you fell on Jesus.
The same brokenness you are experiencing fell on Jesus.
The same loneliness you live with fell on Jesus.
The same heartbreak you are working through fell on Jesus.
Jesus did not only experience pain, he became intimate with pain.
There is no one who understands you better in this moment of intense pain than Jesus.
With this in mind, I want to take you back to Matthew 5:45:
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Can I just tell you that moving to the desert has deepened my appreciation for rain in ways I never expected? Before I moved to Arizona, I understood rain as a symbol of hardship (despite how much I loved the physical experience of rain). Living in Arizona has opened my eyes to a brand new reality; in the desert, rain equals life. Rain is not the carrier of pain and suffering, but the arrival of relief from long seasons of dryness and dying. When God sends rain to the desert, he is sending life–to the righteous and unrighteous.
Have you ever considered that Jesus lived in a desert, too?
Could it be that what Jesus was really saying in Matthew 5:45 is that God loves us so much that he chooses to constantly pour out love and life upon us, regardless of our ability to be righteous on our own? Could rain become a metaphor of the mercies of God, rather than a suspicion of his anger toward us? Could it be a reminder that we are sustained and relieved by the love of a Savior who subjected himself to the same pain that we endure?
In the desert, rain means life. And even in the midst of our pain, we are still here. You are still here, sustained by the love of a Savior who knows you and your pain intimately. The same rain that is falling on you fell on Jesus, and he wants to weather this storm with you, too.
Will you let him?Click here for the photo credit on this post