April showers bring May flowers...By REV. ROYCE LOTT,
I recall both my mother and maternal grandmother sharing that old cliché in my childhood. The saying indicated the arrival of spring as well as the truth that those things dependent on water for new growth seemed to be watered well by God’s hand and then burst forth in subsequent time with their beauty on display.
In view of the real tragedy some have felt with those “April Showers” this spring, I began to ponder this old saying and how it applies to our lives, especially spiritually as I have watched many suffer from flood waters which have gathered in this bowl (pond) that is natural to this area, geographically.
As a child, we still lived in South Louisiana when the historic Camille slammed the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969. My grandparents held property in South Mississippi, and I saw the sheer devastation.
My family had moved to central Mississippi by the time the Easter flood of 1979 ravaged Jackson, MS. I remember my brother and I launching a bass boat at the Gallatin St. Exit of I-20 with a friend, riding into downtown Jackson, MS so that the friend could attempt to dive for his tools in the auto shop of then, Van Trow Oldsmobile.
In 2005 we were in the early leg of a twelve-year ministry work on the Mississippi Gulf Coast when Katrina made history and literally wiped sections of the coast off the map. Though my personal pain in these real and tragic storms of life has been limited, I do get it. I understand loss, first-hand.
John 16:33 reminds us that Christ attempted to prepare us for the storms of life – “In this world you WILL have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Yes! There is great tragedy in financial and material loss, but the storms of life can come in countless other ways.
The death of a spouse or a child brings pain unspeakable. One to whom an individual has committed in life covenant abandons the relationship through addiction, adultery, or just simply selfish obsession and an emotional storm rages. The list could be endless enough to fill volumes and volumes of this and every news rag on stands worldwide.
Still in all, for those of us who have come to understand that we as created beings are totally and completely dependent on our Creator, and in that desperation have surrendered control of our lives into His hands through a loving and redemptive relationship afforded us through Christ, we KNOW that in spite of any and all circumstances, THERE IS HOPE, and His name is Jesus.
I say it this way, “Show me a man who thinks that he is in control of even one thing in his life, and I’ll show you and utterly deceived man. I am confident that we as the created beings are far more dependent upon our Creator than we will ever completely understand during this earthly existence.”
Friends, the storms of life, whether by circumstances of your own choosing, by choices of others, or by the permissive will of God can absolutely destroy you, but they don’t have to be the end. For those of you who have read my second book, you know that only ten hours into my life on the planet, doctors cut me open for the first time, attempting to keep me alive. Until I was seven years old, I spent more time in hospitals than out as specialists of every stripe worked to help me heal from a birth defect known as Hirschsprung’s Disease. This childhood trauma rolled into watching an alcoholic father abandon my family before I was a teenager . . . and the story continued. Often I wondered “WHY”, as many of you have likewise. Little did I know that in God’s permissive will I had seen these showers, more like storms of life, only to discover that God would use those as preparation for a deep and lengthy season of work in the lives of other teenagers in despair when God called me to a life of vocational ministry.
A song from my teenager years had a line, “Into every life a little rain will fall.” For many of us, we feel as if those April Showers, have been nothing less than a tsunami, at best another Katrina-level hurricane. All the while, if, and only if, we are willing to turn our focus from the storm intently toward the One who speaks and the winds and waves obey, then maybe, just maybe we would see that He meant it when HE PROMISED that He was and is above ALL things!
We can rest in the assurance, even when there is rest in no other place, that He who created us in His image has promised that He will take ALL things and work them for our good and His glory, if only – if only we will surrender our will to His and live in the vastness of His love for us, a love so great that He allowed His only Son to pay the price for our wretched lives apart from Him. God then adds to that promise, reminding us that nothing, but NOTHING has the capacity to separate us from His love. (Romans 8)
Friends, just as those April showers do bring the beauty of May flowers, may I encourage you that if you feel as if the rains upon your life, either figuratively or literally have been almost more than you can bear, there is One, the only One capable, who deeply desires to bring beauty for the ashes which seem to be the only thing you have left in the wake of the storms of life. (Isaiah 61)
There is One who is greater than WHATEVER struggle may be gripping your life at this very moment or in this season. It is my hope that you will, with wreckless abandon, run to Him who came to be not only Savior of the world, but most personally a Savior of your soul.
For the King, Brother Royce