Under my pretty-good-for-a-dollar poncho (pictured), I was dubbed the black wizard on our volunteer camping trip in the North Carolina mountains, but I couldn’t control the weather. The rain started in the middle of Friday night. By Saturday afternoon there were puddles in the tents, we were pretty well soaked, and two of us were missing, separated on the hiking trails. Things were in place for a miserable time, but that’s not how it went.
We were asking if it was time to find a ranger who could advise us where to start searching when the lost ones showed up. Hoots, hollers, hugs. The next question asked in the steady drizzle: should we pack up our wet gear and leave a night early? We deferred that decision until after we’d driven into town and hung out in a cozy coffee shop, playing games for a couple hours. The rain stopped. Back at the campsite we had special time around the fire, a good night’s sleep, and then a morning hike with a fabulous view. We made it through this gray, rainy spell having the fun we had hoped for.
Broader application: when life is not so easy, it is good for us to stick together and trust that all is well–or eventually will be, trusting and depending on that which is greater than and beyond us. I’m not trying to cast Almighty God as my personal magician who helped me and my friends endure a little rain with equanimity. Especially not when people in my home town of Columbia are suffering grievously from unprecedented flooding. Rather, I’m echoing the ancient claim that in God, “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). An incurable churchwoman, I would find all of life more difficult but for the company of the great cloud of witnesses who revel in the joy and grace of God in all circumstances.