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What’s the Big Deal?

Col. Dennis Phillips

By Colonel Dennis Phillips – 

It rained last week.

And my family and friends from the midwest are quizzically pondering, “Yeah? So?” Even Westerners, especially Seattle-ites and Portlanders, read this and rightfully wonder, “What’s the big deal?” And I agree, but anyone who has ever lived in Southern California knows that a little bit of rain–even a hint that some might fall–results in a knee-jerk reaction by the media unequaled by any other act of nature save Armageddon itself (and even that is yet to be seen).

Earthquakes? A piece of cake! Unless they top the 5.0 mark on the Richter scale, they are reported with a ho-hum casualness of a PTA bake sale. Fires receive a bit more respect, especially in the dry season, and floods, too, are reported with justifiable drama. But, oh brother, when the clouds gather (or threaten to), and when there is even the slightest chance of some rainfall, the media people are out on the streets, resplendent in their bright yellow slickers and Texas-sized umbrellas, warning the populace of “Mother Nature’s wrath.” (I’m not making this up. You have to see it for yourself.) They busily and nosily poke their microphones in the faces of passersby, probing their thoughts about the pending disaster. Please understand, not a drop has yet fallen. On a recent “Tonight” show, even Jay Leno, a Philadelphia-born Easterner, cracked a few comical quips about the panic that is stirred up over the intimidation of a possible rainfall.

Now, I do not mean to trivialize real disasters. When mudslides destroy homes and threaten lives, and when raging surf buffets businesses and residences to the point of destruction, that is definitely newsworthy and merits our attention and prayers. But, come on, “Into everyone’s life a little rain must fall”–mainly because it is good for us. So, to my fellow Southern Californians I plead, let us beware lest we become so addicted to sunshine that we easily fall prey to “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” mentality of our headline-hungry media mongers.

To one born and raised in Michigan, where the average rainfall is 32 inches per year, the falling rain is refreshing and renewing. Specifically, it was last week’s rain that has prompted this column. Prior to the dreaded rain, the hillsides were brown and barren. Only irrigated lawns sported various shades of green. One or two days of the very rain about which the news people create such panic, and those hills and plains, once seemingly dead, perk up with new color and new life. God’s earth is given a new lease on life, all due to the absence of a few days of sunshine, the gathering of a few clouds, and the pouring down of some much needed, albeit inconvenient rain.

Hopefully, the point of all this is so clear, there is little need to go on. Yet, I share this final paragraph, mainly to drive home the already obvious point. Sure, we all enjoy those sunny and cloudless days with temperatures somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees. But the areas on this earth where such days occur year around are deserts where only gila monsters and rattlesnakes barely scratch out an existence. When the “rains of life” fall (and they will–see Matthew 7:24-27), be not discouraged, upset or afraid. For just as God replenishes his earth with the fall of the rain, so does he renew and refresh our lives. The same rain that cancels flights to important places and causes inconvenient traffic jams that make us late to work also cleanses the air we breathe, grows the food we eat and brings bright and colorful blossoms to an otherwise dull world. There may be some rain in your life right now, and the coveted sunshine a distant memory. Do not despair, for when the warming rays of the sun’s light once again touch your life, you will then know how good that rain has been for you.

Yeah. It rained last week. Thank you, God.

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