Last week I went on an early morning jog before my girls were up and before our day of homeschool began. As soon as I stepped out of our front door, I smelled the heavy, damp scent of rain in the air and thought to myself, “There is a good chance that at some point on this run, it’s going to rain.” And sure enough, it did. About fifteen minutes into my route, the rain began to fall and did not stop falling until I stopped running thirty minutes later. By the time my feet hit my front porch at the end of the run, I was soaking wet and my tennis shoes were soggy. I’m pretty sure you could have wrung out my shirt and filled a bucket with the water.
The funny thing is, the rain didn’t spoil my run; it actually encouraged me to keep running, thanks, in great part, to the verses I was thinking about from Hosea 6:
(1) “Come, let us return to the Lord;
for He has torn us, that He may heal us;
He has struck us down, and He will bind us up.
(2) After two days He will revive us;
on the third day He will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
(3) Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
His going out is sure as the dawn;
He will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”
I know that it’s September and the leaves are beginning to fall off the trees (well, in some places they are, even if they’re not in Houston), and the rain I experienced on my run wasn’t a spring rain. But it was a refreshing rain, like so many spring rains are. It wasn’t a cold, windy, miserable, wet winter kind of rain that cuts through your clothes and leaves your hands icy and numb. And it wasn’t the overpowering, drenching, rain-coming-in-sideways summer monsoon kind of rain. It was the steady, refreshing new life kind of rain that puts courage into you as you run and refreshes you as you go.
Just as in running, in seasons of waiting, we all need that new life, refreshing, restoring, encouraging kind of rain. It’s always easy to remember and quote that last verse of Hosea – “He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth” – but it’s easy to forget about the first verse – “Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up.” It’s always so easy to forget that the rain and refreshment only comes in the context of a God who has torn us to pieces so that He can put us back together again. It’s so easy to forget that the rain only comes in the context of someone who has been slain yet still gets up and presses on to know the One who wounded her, knowing that the only reason He wounds is so that He can heal.
Many of you may be asking (and honestly, should be asking), “What kind of God is this who tears His people apart so that He can put them back together again?” The answer is simple, even if it’s not easy.
It is the kind of God who loves His people enough to save them from themselves. It is the kind of God who hates it as He watches His beloved creation chain their wrists, crush their hearts, and enslave themselves to lesser gods who cannot and do not satisfy. So He does the only thing any good and loving God would do – He wounds us by taking away our lesser loves so that He can give us Himself, the only true love that can ever actually satisfy.
I’m going to be honest – it’s hard to serve a God like that. It’s hard to look back over the trajectory of your life and see the death of dreams, knowing that they were God’s hard answers to prayers for good things you really wanted. It’s hard to watch friends suffer from sickness and pray to a God who you know can heal but has chosen not to. It’s hard to hear about suffering and Syria and refugees and war-torn hearts and war-torn countries and look at the God you know you could fix it all yet seems to give His people perseverance and hard fought for peace on the inside instead of the peace on the outside for which so many are longing. It’s. Hard.
But just when you feel like your heart is about to fail, just when you feel like you can’t do one more day of sickness, one more day of suffering, one more day of hurting, or one more day of weariness, you still get up in the morning, you still put on your running shoes on, you still open your front door, step outside, and start to run, even if, and especially if, it smells like rain. Because, as Oswald Chambers says, “God doesn’t give us overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome” (My Utmost for His Highest, August 2nd).
And isn’t that what Hosea 6:3 is saying? The refreshing rain is promised to fall on those who are running, pressing on, pursuing, persevering, even chasing God down to know Him more and be known, despite the fact that they are running with broken bones.
And that’s what my heart needed to hear last week on my run. The rain doesn’t fall when you stop running. The rain falls when you start running and keep on running, straight into the arms of the God who has run down the road to meet you (Luke 15:20).
I want to know and run to and trust and believe and live life with a God like that. Because when it comes down to it, I don’t want to worship a God I can control with my own two hands on my own terms on my own turf. I don’t want to worship a God who fulfills my every whim and desire, especially when I know the real condition of my heart and know just how shallow and awful and unsatisfying and small so many of my desires really are. And I really don’t want to worship a God who only encourages perfect people who have it all together to pursue Him.
I want to worship a God who loves broken people, who sometimes even makes broken people because He knows their dreams and idols of perfection and all lesser things will end up breaking them, and who knows how to put broken people back together better than they ever could on our own.
I want to worship a God who knows how to help us persevere through the brokenness and the pain to find refreshment in healing, restorative relationship with Himself, no matter what the circumstances in life may be.
I don’t know where you are this Monday morning. Maybe you are running, refreshed and encouraged, out in the rain. Maybe you are torn, bloodied, bruised and in need of bandaging on the side of the road. Maybe you are emotionally, spiritually, or even physically close to death and are in need of flat out resurrection.
But wherever you are, I encourage you to put on your running shoes, open your front door, and start running the broken but beautiful route of pressing in to the Lord. Because as soon as you do, you will be found by Him. His finding is as certain as the dawn that broke out of blackest night this morning, and it’s as certain as the rain that poured down on me last week. He comes to us. And He binds up our wounds. And He tends to our broken hearts. And He loves us back to life…all as we run and press in to Him, the only God who tore His Son so that He could tend to our wounds with resurrection life in His Hands.
For more encouragement throughout the week, consider connecting with me on FaceBook. On Tuesdays, I will be posting Scripture that continues to offer encouragement along the same lines as the weekly blog, and on Thursdays, I will post an article or helpful resource for encouragement in the same area as well. My hope is to provide food for women’s soul throughout the week through the most powerful tool I know – God’s Word.
To learn more about pursuing God in the midst of running and waiting throughout all different seasons in life, walk through the pages of Waiting on the Lord with a pen in one hand and God’s Word in the other. My hope and prayer is that you find refreshing rain through the message of healing and hope it brings. To order your copy, click here.