Quiet Times, Changing Weather

I came across to Parbold yesterday, having been asked to speak at the Young Life meeting which convenes there. Although the morning was characterised by heavy rain, the afternoon gained a gorgeous, Mediterranean-style blue sky and unhindered sunshine. It enabled me to arrive early, sit on a bench in the church’s car park, and do some work. Had I been sitting on it a few hours previously, I might have been washed away, as the huge puddles on these country roads testify. This is why we Englishmen discuss so much the weather: it changes all the time. Within a day, we have sunshine, rain, hail and snow. I suspect the Spaniard does not leave his house each morning and remark to his neighbour on the sun’s pleasantness. They both take for granted that the sun will be warm and the skies will be blue. The Arab may congratulate his fellow on the arrival of rain; we Britons take it for granted. When we have much of something, we despise it or at least fail to express gratitude. When something is in short supply, we tend to more readily treasure it.

This, I think, is why God does not bestow tokens of grace each hour and minute. Yes, He answers prayer, yes, He blesses regularly and more frequently than we deserve. Yet in my life, I cannot say that this is a daily or weekly occurrence. I have many quiet times and uneventful seasons. We read of the greats in scripture, and of the astounding ways that God spoke to them and intervened in their lives. Yet those days, months, and even years or decades of which we know little were periods of quiet. Take Moses, for example. For the first forty years or so, nothing much happened. Then something did…and for the next forty years or so, not very much happened. Even in the final third, when much certainly did happen, there would have been long stretches in that wilderness sojourn which were characterised by dullness, or at least ordinariness. So celebrate and publish those times in your life when God has spoken, confirmed, convicted, rebuked and strengthened. Do not take them for granted, for there are many days when God observes us from above, without saying a word or offering a nod, yet His love is not diminished by His silence. Even when the storm clouds gather and the tempests rage, the sun still shines as brightly as ever. And for that, we smile all the more when its rays break through the gloom. 

 Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
  But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
  He hides a smiling face.

-Wm Cowper