Sacred Storm

May 4, 2012 | 40 comments

When the rain begins to fall in thundering sheets, I’m driving through a parking lot in the city. For a moment, this creeping line of cars stops, and I just sit there, with the engine idling. I squint through my rain-spotted windshield.

There are people, everywhere. Without umbrellas.

And the rain won’t let up. I hear laughing, so I turn my head.

A young couple runs across the lot hand-in-hand. A teenage girl jumps over a giant puddle. A child, on his Daddy’s back, lifts his hands to the heavens. A lady with white hair and a big black purse on her shoulder lifts her chin skyward and, for a moment, she closes her eyes.

Is this for real?

In some moment of glistening release, in a small parking lot somewhere on Planet Earth, men and women and children lose themselves when the sky faucet opens.  I sit dumbfounded in my seat, with my hands resting on the steering wheel. These are a people in wonder of the wonder — of a shriveled sky letting loose a wet and radiant glory.

The sky tips clean over, and it’s making a glorious mess of things: ruining hair, and pressed shirts, and white tennis shoes. I wonder if the old lady carries one of those plastic head-coverings in her purse — the kind that ties under the chin. If she has one, she doesn’t use it.

I want me some of this. 

So, I pull into a stall on the far side of the lot, turn the ignition off and open the door, begging this one unrepeatable rainstorm to fall like glory down on my skin.

I stand still in a sacred storm. It soaks through my shirt, and it’s like hugging holy.

He comes as rain comes, as spring rain refreshing the ground.”
~ Hosea 6:3 (MSG)

And this one song... It has practically nothing to do with rain, but everything to do with losing yourself and preparing a heart-entrance for God’s glory. I’m linking it here, because it’s been giving me God-Bumps for the last two days.

by | May 4, 2012 | 40 comments

40 Comments

  1. kd sullivan

    It’s like hugging holy…oh my goodness…LOVE

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      It was a glorious drenching, kd! Happy Friday, friend. xo

      Reply
  2. r.ellott

    Perspective…what we behold…aren’t there always two path before us…one is live in the frustration of those rainy days…or to choose to dance in the rain…soaking…getting a holy hug. So glad you chose to soak…and I will look at a rain storm with new eyes…thanks for this…blessings~

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Indeed. Two paths. How do we choose to see? If we turn the eye just a bit, can we find the holy, right in the middle of the messy? It was beautifully shocking, really, to look at the faces of the people in that parking lot. I kept trying to find someone who was irritated. I simply could not find a single downcast face. … And the thing is, it’s not like we had been suffering through some long, painful drought here. … I really think it was people who were expressing sheer joy at the feeling of rain on their skin.

      Reply
  3. Amy

    I think rain is one of the most beautiful things ever. I want to be the one who dances in the rain and doesn’t run from the storm. <3

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      And I love a good old-fashioned thunderstorm, the kind that rattles the windows.

      We had pea-sized hail the other night. My girls had never seen it. It looked like tiny snow-drifts on our driveway.

      Reply
      • Amy

        I am with you on the thunderstorms. The Mr and I sit outside and soak it in! Probably not the brightest idea, but we like living on the edge!

        Reply
  4. elizabeth

    “In wonder of the wonder”– wonderful. And hugging the holy. Makes me want to go find a storm and stand under the outpouring. Instead its sunny in the South, but there are other storms abrewing out there. Thank you for this beautiful post. Will dance on over to the link and listen to something else beautiful.
    Those times we are caught in life’s outpourings, unexpectant, can be moments of sheer joy if we shift our perspective a degree.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi Elizabeth … We’ve had some nice spring rains here, mixed in with some warm beautiful days. It’s been one of the nicest springs that I can recall. Have a glorious, wonder-filled weekend, friend.

      Reply
  5. Megan Willome

    I don’t know the circumstances of that rainstorm, but I can tell you when it rained for the first time in months, everyone came out of their houses and held their hands up to the sky and gave thanks. All up and down the streets.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Megan,

      I thought of you as I wrote this one. I thought of those long, drought-filled months. This particular rainstorm wasn’t anything special really. But in that moment, everyone acted like it was. Which was so remarkable to me… It’s not like we needed rain in a big way, like you guys have needed it. It was just one of those unexpected sunny-one-minute, rainy-the-next kind of moments. It was glorious.

      Reply
  6. Angie Vik

    That is a really neat picture. Your post reminds me of the time after we’d first moved up here and it snowed for six weeks so the roads were always snow-covered. Keith and I were invited to a breakfast with other pastors in a town thirty minutes from here. I gritted my teeth, closed my eyes for part of it, and hated the whole snowy drive. We had a hard time getting up the icy hill to the restaurant. I was so glad to be out of the car. Another pastor arrived and commented on the absolutely beautiful drive to the restaurant, saying that it had been a gift. He was so right. It was gloriously beautiful. By being afraid I had missed the gift.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I grit my teeth while driving through storms, too. It’s easier for me to see the blessing when I’m standing still. Come to think of it, it’s always easiest to see the blessing — to really see it — when we are still.

      Glad you’re here today.

      Reply
  7. David

    I am always blessed by your words. I love the imagery of this post. “hugging the holy…”. The child reaching up welcoming the rain.

    “And I know there’ll be days
    When this life brings me pain
    But if that’s what it takes to praise You
    Jesus, bring the rain” – MercyMe

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hey David … Thanks so much.

      LOVE that song by MercyMe. In fact, it came to mind as I sat in my car that day.

      Reply
  8. Stephani

    I love this. So well written. I was right there. And I wanted to be standing in the rain.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Someday, this side of heaven, wouldn’t we have a ball splashing through some mud puddles, Stephani? 😉

      Reply
  9. Christina

    I love rain! Especially the sound of it on my tin roof. It’s musical, calming. But I don’t like driving in our afternoon thunderstorms where you can’t see an inch in front of you. I remember my grandmother wearing those rain hair covering things:) Great post!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Ooo … Christina. I’m imagining the tap-tap-tapping percussion of nature on your rooftop. I like that. A lot.

      I wondered if anyone else would know what I was talking about, with those plastic hair covers. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Alecia

    I won’t ever look at rain the same again. You described it beautifully, I still have the image of the child holding her hands up to the heavens, welcoming the rain.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      A child’s heart just automatically knows what it is to praise, don’t you think? Glad you’re here, Alecia. Have a great weekend.

      Reply
  11. Elisse

    I so love the imagery & well, everything about this post! It calls to my inner child all while reminding me that glory can be found in the simplest things. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi Elisse! It called to my inner child, too. God gives us all these simple gifts, that I tend to overlook them.

      Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi Susan … And thank you. Have you seen much rain out your windows these days? Is it still pretty cool up your way?

      Reply
  12. Simply Darlene

    dancing barefoot in the rain…

    been a few songs written ’bout that.

    As always, thanks for the story.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Something tells me you’ve danced in a rainstorm or two, Darlene. 😉

      Reply
  13. Jennifer@Adam's Rib

    We are praying, praying for rain in the parched South. Our neighbors got a deluge on Wednesday, but the storm circled around, leaving our hay fields dry. When it finally comes? I’ll be dancing in the rain alongside those people in the parking lot.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Jennifer … Joining you in that prayer right now, that the Creator would blow our rain your way, friend.

      Reply
  14. Linda

    We are praying for rain here. When you have gone without it for a long time, it is like a miracle when it finally falls. Just like you said Jennifer!

    Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Writing this, I thought of you and your area of the country, which has really suffered through a long period of dryness. What’s your forecast, Linda? We’ve been getting rain this way. I’ve been praying for the Creator to blow some of this down your way, too.

      Reply
  15. Summer Gross

    Jennifer,
    This was like taking a long drink of joy. Beautiful image. Beautiful writing!

    Can I just thank you for this amazing ministry of encouragement for bloggers you have? I hope you know how much we appreciate the gift of your time and love which you so generously pass around.
    Thank you!!!
    Summer Gross

    Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Summer,

      How you encourage me today! God bless you, sister. Thank (((((you))))).

      xo

      Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Right back at you, Andrea. So nice to have your blessing here in the comment box. xo

      Reply
  16. Diana Trautwein

    Gloriously written, Jennifer. I’m wiping that rain off my face and smiling right now!

    Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Thank you, Diana! More rain in the forecast today. Maybe I’ll have to venture outside. I’m sure the girls would vote for that. 🙂

      Reply
  17. Monica Sharman

    Wow. You did that? Pulled over and got out and all that? You inspire me, friend.
    And…anything by PCD is good. 🙂

    A friend once told me she made a list of all the people she wanted to pray for weekly, then divided that list into seven, assigning each section to a day of the week. Just letting you know that I plan to adopt her habit and will put you on my list. So anyway, know that Jennifer-incense will be going up once a week. 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Hey sweet friend! Good morning. Yeah, PCD songs are among my favorites.

      Thank you, ((((thank you)))) for those prayers. I saw this message come across my email notifications a few minutes ago, and it filled my heart with gratitude — and my eyes with tears! It’s like you knew. You knew! I had to pop over to the comment box right away and tell you how much this means to me.

      As for the rain: Yes, I really did that. 🙂 On a practical level, I actually needed to get into the store. I could have waited for the storm to pass, but who could resist joining in all that fun? As my Mom always used to say, “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, … ”

      Thank you again, Monica.

      Reply
  18. Amy

    What a glorious day to run in the rain! My daughter and I got together with 700 beautiful and blessed individuals to run a 5K today in the rain for Girls on the Run. It was a truly uplifting experience, and I thought of this post as I ran. Noone seemed to care in the slightest that it was raining, just that we were together making a wonderful memory together. God is good!

    Reply

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