It’s 5:26 AM and the rain is pouring down on a Sunday morning. It’s a rest day for me, so I’m not running, and I don’t care about the rain. I kind of like it. It’s good for the yard. But my son is out camping at Shawnee Mission Park with the Boy Scouts, so I do care. He is probably wet and miserable. Then there is a lightning strike and a concussive roll of thunder. Now, I figure, he’s definitely awake, and he won’t be going back to sleep.
If it was Wednesday, the rain would be a complete disaster, because I would be out on a long run, soaking wet, and the nearly full moon would not be visible. Bummer!
I am thinking about Matthew 5:44-45, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too.”
I was thinking of this same verse earlier in the week when I was hoping it would rain after I got in my car and hopefully after I got home, because that would be better than getting rained on in the parking lot. And I thought of “Saving Mr. Banks,” the story of the Disney film-adaptation of Mary Poppins. The author, Mrs. Travers, lives in England, but she’s in LA to work with the writers. It’s the seventh straight day of sun, and she looks positively distressed. The writing of the screenplay is not going merrily. It could use a spoonful of sugar. When her driver remarks on the beautiful sunny day, Mrs. Travers says she would rather have the rain, because the rain brings life. Then her driver turns around and says, “But to bring life you need the sun, too.”
Some members of our church went on a mission trip to Kenya. On the second day, they were to distribute the gifts that we had sent with them to the village that was hosting them. However, in the presence of all those gifts, the formerly restrained Kenyans became unruly, and police had to be called on to keep order and help with the distribution. One of our missionaries remarked on how difficult it was to distribute these gifts with “dignity and fairness.”
How is it that God distributes the sun and rain without relying on police? Still, there are deserts and rain forests. It’s not even; but there is some justice in it.
One year at church camp, I got a lesson in the world’s distribution of population and wealth. Without knowing why, we were brought into the dining hall hungry, split at random into six sections of the room (some being more heavily populated than others), and then our waiters went to get the food. All they brought out was bread. And the biggest groups of people seemed to get the least amount of food. Chaos broke out between the previously restrained campers. The bread carriers were mobbed, people “stole” bread from other groups, and a very few people in the more fortunate groups started throwing bread to the less fortunate. Unfortunately, a lot of bread wound up on the floor.
Then counselors shouted out, “Don’t worry! There’s spaghetti!” Spaghetti was distributed, and order was restored. So, the world’s idea of justice is bread, and God’s idea of grace (sun and rain) is spaghetti and sauce.
Is the sun good and the rain bad? I think that depends on how much of each you get. And that made me think about the balance between easy and hard days in training. The hard days are good when you have the energy and strength for them. And the easy days are good when you need a rest. Generally, training goes easy, hard (repeat).
And God sends easy and hard days on the runners and the walkers and the drivers and the resters. Easy. Hard. My prayer is “Don’t send too many hard days between the easy ones.” Please.