Brings back memories of Annie Lennox, her short-cropped hair and that giant trench coat. I wish I had a trench coat for days like these.
Rainy season in the Philippines usually comes in May, late May. I remember the obligatory Agua de Mayo of my childhood, when my mother would actually encourage us to go play in the first rain of May, considered a rain of blessing.
Now, my husband won’t allow it, not because it sounds suspiciously like a superstition, but because he’s afraid it might be acid rain we’d be sending our princesses to. The girls actually have no inclination for it either. They dislike cold baths. Maybe if our bathroom were closer to the front door, I could convince them that they can have a quick hot bath right after. As it is, it’s at the farthest corner of the house.
This year, the rains began spectacularly early. First we hardly felt the coldness of December and January, then the heat grew to fever temperatures, then suddenly it rained.
And rained. And rained.
There have been other years when the rain seemed to come late. Newscasts of the sinking level in reservoirs would abound, accompanied with dire warnings of a possible water crisis. Then the rains come, flooding the streets, mooring motorists, and paralyzing pedestrians for hours.
Yes, here comes the rain again. But like everything in life, this too shall pass. No matter how interminably long it may seem to have stayed, it WILL pass, and one day, you find yourself looking back at the memory and moving on.
Everything in this life will pass, some too soon, others not soon enough. As a Christian, I am grateful for this truth. My favorite verse of hope is found in Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (NLT)
Heaven is in the eternal present tense (so is hell, by the way). Although my favorite hymn says “when we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we’ve first begun,” there will be no years to count in heaven (or hell).
But how do we get to heaven? Quite simply, we can’t, not on our own. Heaven is God’s home, and going to live in someone else’s home requires willingness to submit to his rules.
And his rule is simple: “Believe in the one he sent.” (John 6:29NLT)
What’s wrong with the other religious leaders? How dare Jesus say he’s the one sent by God that we should believe in?
Very simply, this: of all religious leaders, Jesus is the only one who fulfilled God’s requirement. Oh sure, everyone of them had good things to advise, good rules to follow, and maybe they all performed miraculous deeds. But only Jesus was the only one who dealt with sin PERMANENTLY. And AS GOD REQUIRED.
People complain about God’s cruelty by requiring animal sacrifices, but that’s actually his mercy. Because sin has only one payment: blood. You can’t make up for one sin with another good deed. C’mon, if someone smacked you on the head, would you forget about it if they kiss you? NO! You’d want to break all his teeth!!
We CANNOT pay the correct penalty for our sin. If we could, none of us would be here. That’s why religions are attractive. Because they tell us that a little bit of this, a whole lot more of that, and we’d have made up for it. But deep down, we never truly have that peace. Because we know we ourselves cannot be satisfied without justice. No matter how small the offense. There must be justice. Every action has an opposite reaction.
That’s God’s design.
And Jesus, God who became man, decided he would receive that opposite reaction. One day, two thousand years ago, he received all of God’s wrath against sin — not against man, but against sin — dying the most cruel death ever designed by man. But here’s the catch: because Jesus had never sinned against God, he could not stay dead. After having satisfied God and man’s wrath against sin, Jesus took his life back and rose from the dead.
That’s why he has the gall to say, “You believe in God, believe also in me.” Because of all the religious leaders on earth, he went beyond practicing what he preached. He actually took on the punishment for the sin of others while he himself remained innocent.
“Now most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a good person. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners.” Romans 5:7,8
Yes, only Jesus did that. And because he did, heaven is now open for those who choose to obey that one rule: Believing in the one God sent. Himself.
Yes, here comes the rain again. But it will pass in time, and in one way or another, time will soon pass for each of us, too. And when that time comes, I look forward to Jesus’ promise of being with him forever coming to pass.
And until then…
“Here comes the rain…again…”