We anticipate rain like Seattle anticipates sunshine. We want what we don’t have. We normally get excited in anticipation of a cloud or slight drop in temperature or anything that resembles a winter season so if it rains we celebrate like a team that just won a big game. Mind you, not everyone shares the same sentiment that my wife and I do. We crave anything other than hot and dry. If it rains at night and we don’t see it, it doesn’t count. This year we are FINALLY having a winter season after many years of drought. Instead of normally warm dry weather, we are getting rain. On more than one occasion, it rained for several days in row. For a brief moment I thought I forgot to turn the sprinklers off. It’s like the whole area gets to take a mass shower and nasal rinse. Boy did we need it. San Bernardino was really beginning to stink. I’m pretty sure the local golf course is offering white water rafting now. Some of the hills around our home that normally resemble a pile of dried refried beans have a mossy green substance growing on them now. If you squint and have a really good imagination it could resemble someplace other than brown town. The air is so clean right now that you can take a good deep breath and not choke on hot smog or brush fires.
Another advantage of the rain is the spring time wildflowers in our area. This year because of all the rain, the experts are predicting what they refer to as a super bloom. The normally dead hills have come alive with brilliant colors of green, orange, purple, white and yellow creating super traffic jams. I read an article that local communities are amping up for the crowds by renting portable potties and traffic police or maybe it was portable traffic and potty police. Hordes of people from the coastal counties on a quest for selfies with flowers, are descending on us in mass, clamoring up normally dead hills littered with rattlesnakes and beer cans to sit next to a patch of flowers that 3 months prior was nothing more than a pile of coyote dung and tumbleweeds. Supposedly many of the wildflower seeds sit dormant for years until a sufficient enough rain encourages them to come to life. That is pretty much how we are too. We sit around dormant for years for years until we get a decent winter rain and then we spring to life.
This year I discovered sweaters, jackets and long sleeved shirts that I had long forgotten. They are the bench warmers, the second string of the wardrobe. We hardly ever need them but when the conditions call for it, they are a necessity. I’m fairly frugal and I have a tendency to wear clothes completely out before I discard them. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the holes that are supposed to be there from the ones that aren’t. My daughters once hid one of my well worn shirts and sewed hideous patches all over it before wrapping it up and giving it back to me as a Christmas gift. When I tried to wear it again they seized control of it permanently taking it out of my rotation. When it comes to the second string, they may be worn once or twice then cleaned, folded and put away for another decade or until winter decides to arrive. I was finally able to utilize an umbrella my daughter gave me a few years back. Once I finished watching the YouTube tutorial on how it works, I was able to put it to good use.
At one time in my life, I watched the local evening news on occasion. If we have more than a few minutes of sprinkles in a single month the local media goes into full blown frenzy. Instead of the latest Hollywierd noise, the lead story becomes STORM WATCH. The networks parade out the Barbie doll weather reporter immediately and as often as possible. In typical SoCal overkill fashion, they send a team of reporters out with film crews to cover what amounts to little more than a leaking faucet and then tell us it’s a typhoon. They advertise the fact that they have a mobile weather van with the latest Doppler radar technology. First of all, I would hope that the van is mobile. Was their previous van not mobile? Do the other networks just have a stationary weather van sitting in the back parking lot with Doppler radar? Does it really matter if they have a weather van or not? Anyone with a smart phone and wifi can pull up a radar image and a weather report. Do they really believe we think they are cutting edge storm chasers? It’s SoCal not tornado alley.
If the local weather Barbies tease us that there will be a slightly greater than 1% chance of winter in our area there are things we do in anticipation of the impending storms. A few weeks before our rainy weather started I replaced the windshield wipers on the cars. It was a rare stroke of good timing on my part. I’ve been duped in the past by the Barbies. Normally the wipers are camouflaged to appear to be perfectly capable of completing the task at hand. Then when it starts to drizzle and you hit the wiper switch, you get a broken rubber band and a metal arm flapping and scratching mud across your windshield at 50 mph. We have gardeners that maintain the brown belts in our neighborhood. Their timing is not the best. The other day during a rainstorm was the day they decided to attempt to blow the leaves off of the sidewalks. The previous time they waited until the Santa Ana winds were blowing Semi trucks off the roadways.
The city work crews put up temporary signs around town warning drivers about the flooded roadways. There is always some thrill seeker who dares to ignore the obvious and proceeds to plunge in, inevitably gets stuck or worse. I recently read a story about a woman who was hiking at Yosemite. She chose to ignore the signs that marked the trail closed for winter and proceeded to walk around a gate blocking the trail. Unfortunately she was struck by a falling boulder. There are consequences when we choose to ignore the warnings.
We know that while a storm can inflict a lot of damage, it can reap wonderful benefits too. In order to enjoy the wildflowers and the crisp clean air, you have to go thru some storms. It doesn’t take long to figure out what you need to prepare. It’s like saving those long sleeved sweaters. Eventually the warm dry spell will come to a screeching halt and you’re going to need to call in the reserves. We don’t always know where the storms in life will come from or how much damage they will do, but be assured they will come, it’s inevitable. Some of the storms we bring on ourselves. Some storms happen as a result of someone else. Some storms cannot be attributed to anyone or thing, they just happen. How prepared are you? Don’t wait too long like our gardeners, it might be too late and the results may be less than desirable. Don’t ignore the warnings like the Yosemite hiker. There is no need to over react either like our local media. God has us here for a reason and it’s not always going to be sunny and sweet with flowers and rainbows everywhere. He knows what storms you are currently going through and the ones that loom on your horizon.
I think that Noah and Job had a lot in common. They both endured tremendous storms and had their respective worlds taken away in a manner of speaking. They both had to endure the scorn and ridicule of the people around them. The thing that stands out though is their loyalty to God. They both went to God in prayer and they were both able to weather the storm. Their worlds were much different after the storm than before, but their God was the same before, during and after as He always has been. It’s normal to question things when the storms of life hit. Job may have questioned God’s motives but at least he knew who really was in charge. At least he continued talking to God. Occasionally there are gully washers that can knock you off your feet no matter how prepared you are. Don’t think you have to try and get through those times alone. Turn to the Lord in prayer. Thank Him for all He has done and ask Him to guide you safely to where you need to be.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1