As I scrolled down the Twitter posts, a colorful-but-familiar poster caught my eye: “Don’t wait for the storm to pass – learn to dance in the rain.”
I have previously read and seen this quote many times, presented on many different backgrounds. But on this particular occasion, I re-read it several times because the Lord began to unwrap different depths of impact to the words; He was opening my eyes to a deeper level of significance than I had previously noticed.
Several scriptures came to my mind: “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45); “Let them praise His name with dancing” (Psa 149:3); “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world;” (John 16:33) “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you”; (John 14:20) “I am with you always…” (Matt. 28:20)
Learn to dance in the rain.
The more I pondered the full thirteen words, the more broad-reaching they became. I could see them as stones dropping into a pond on unruffled surface water, sending ripples out to the very perimeter.
The equivalent of ripples through our souls, perhaps.
How often, during times of congregational or individual prayer, do you hear the utterance, “Give me wisdom and make me a raging fire for You as we go through this difficulty together; strengthen me as You strengthen the palms that face a hurricane, that my integrity is proven”? Or the prayer, “As the circumstances around me shake my familiar life of comfort, so, Father, shake out the unworthy things in my life”?
I think it takes a great deal of courage and faith to dance in the rain.
The apostle Paul was always mindful of his need to “dance in the rain.”
To the Philippians he wrote, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:12-13)
Earlier in his letter to Philippi, Paul wrote that he hoped “I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Phil. 1:20) Shortly after that statement he encouraged, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents – which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you…for to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…” (Phil 1:27-29)
Strength through the suffering. Joy through the suffering. Yielding our strength to receive His strength…dancing through the suffering.
Why? The reality of our heavenly citizenship is proclaimed. The reality of our love-relationship with Jesus is proclaimed. When the storm rages and we are not found cowering in fear or intimidation, praying and waiting only for the storm to pass — I think our dancing in the rain becomes a prophetic act of victory.
But there’s another reason, I suspect: Jesus wants to dance with us. Yes — through the storm. Through the suffering. Bringing us joy. Gladly imbuing us with His strength. He is not standing on the outside and watching, wondering if we will stand or fall. He is clutching us to His bosom, holding our outstretched arms with His. Jesus said that He was going to “prepare a place” for us (John 14:2). He promised that He would “receive you to Myself” – for the purpose that “where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)
And, the corollary – where we are, He may be, also.
What victories have never been won, what renewal has never been observed, what courage has never been demonstrated, what boundaries have not been redrawn, what lives have not been touched…because, most of the time, our prayers, and our lives cry out for “the storm” (whatever form that takes) to dissipate and dissolve into warm, dry sunshine – not for His embrace and strength to melt our hearts for Him and increase the intimacy of our relationship.
I chanced upon a blog written by author Rickey Macklin, who stated, “Dancing in your trials tells God that you trust Him and is an insult in the face of your enemies.”*
Most importantly, we do not dance alone.