Recently I read: “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass. . . it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement.
You know, none of us is exempt from storms; and in fact, God sends and allows storms in our lives to be used for good. In Acts 27 we read about a storm that came upon Paul as he was sailing to Rome. Paul was a prisoner; he had no authority or freedom. But there he was. And don’t miss this: He was in that storm because God was sending him where God wanted him to be—in Rome. This storm did not catch God by surprise. God didn’t look down from heaven and say, “Oh, my goodness, what is happening to Paul? How in the world did he get himself in such a mess?”
No, Paul was in that storm because he was doing God’s will. He was a prisoner because he was preaching the gospel. You remember after Jesus had fed the five thousand, he told the disciples to get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They did what Jesus told them to do and guess what happened: They found themselves in the midst of a storm. Another time they followed him onto a boat, and he went to sleep, but without warning a furious storm came up on the lake. A storm on the lake and Jesus was in the boat!
In all of these situations, Paul and the disciples were doing exactly what Jesus told them to do, and then they found themselves in the midst of terrible storms. If anyone tries to tell you that a Christian is exempt from storms, they are not telling you the truth! Nothing in Scripture would validate that belief. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Peter writes:
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though some strange thing were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:12-13).
Your storm has not taken God by surprise. But what does it mean to “dance in the rain”? The bottom line is, it means to have a grateful and thankful heart, no matter what your circumstances. The Bible says to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And again it tells us to “always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). We are to give thanks in our storms and for our storms. That is what it means to dance in the rain.
You may be thinking, “Do you really expect me to thank God for being laid off, or getting a bad report from my doctor, or losing someone close to me, or watching my grown child stray far from God?” Well, I recognize that seems difficult if not impossible, but those are not my instructions or my idea. It is the inspired Word of God to us—to give thanks in and for everything.
Frankly, I think it often just comes down to simple obedience—doing what God says to do even though you don’t want to, even when your heart is not in it. Maybe that’s what it means to give a “sacrifice of praise,” to thank and praise God when it just doesn’t make sense! I know God will honor that obedience.
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
That storm you’re going through, whether from God or simply used by God, is for a purpose—to supply something lacking in your life.
- Is faith lacking in your life? A storm will grow your faith faster than anything else.
- Is joy lacking in your life? The joy of the Lord becomes your strength in the midst of a storm.
- Is humility lacking in your life? A storm will blow away that pride that is in your heart, put you on your knees and teach you true humility.
- Could it be that maturity is lacking? A storm will grow you up fast, and you’ll lose those childish ways, that immature attitude which has held you in its grips far too long.
- Is courage lacking in your life? A storm will give you a backbone and untie your tongue so that you are not ashamed of the gospel.
All things still work together for good for those who love the Lord, so that’s why we can dance in the rain!
You know, you can go through a storm and never realize God’s purpose for you in that storm. You can choose to worry, to complain, to be bitter, to manipulate and run and talk to everybody else about it, and totally miss the good God has for you in the storm.
If it’s your desire to really fly above your storms, to dance in the rain instead of responding in fear and dismay, step one in this rain dance is to face your fears. Storms tend to grip our hearts with fear. Every time we had a thunder storm, my little dog would become very fearful. He would run to me, want to get close to me, and look for a hiding place. It makes me reflect on how I react to the storms of life. Fear causes me to panic, to run, to try to get away.
Recently I was talking with a young career woman about the challenges she is facing on her job, and she said that she has been so intimidated and made so fearful by her co-workers that she just wants to get out of there. My advice was that before she runs away from that fearful situation, she needs to have victory over the fear. Fear comes from the evil one, and if she decides to leave that job, it should be in victory, not in defeat.
As long as your heart is filled with fear, you won’t be able to dance in the rain. Fear is like wearing lead shoes; it keeps you bound and it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other, much less dance!
How do you get rid of fear? You attack it with the word of God. Here are some good weapons to throw at your fear:
Psalm 23:4: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Psalm 27:3: Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
Romans 8:15: For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
These are just a few of the hundreds of passages that teach us not to fear. If you want to dance in the rain, then face that fear, and start literally quoting Scripture against it. It will set you free.
Here is another important step in learning to do this rain dance, and that is to look for someone to encourage and help. Get outside of yourself; ask God to impress on your mind someone you should personally help. Then become very intentional about helping them, whatever that means. It could mean:
- Give them some money
- Give them some time
- Help them get a job done that needs to be done
- Send words of encouragement
- Provide a meal.
Remember, you reap what you sow, so sow what you need. A farmer who wants to eat or sell corn doesn’t sow beans. He sows corn.
- If you need encouragement, sow it.
- If you need money, sow it.
- If you need help in finding a job, sow it.
Often when we’re dealing with some storm, we tend to become so focused on what we’re going through, that we forget that others are going through some tough times, too. And I can promise you that getting out of yourself and focusing on others is guaranteed to help you dance in the rain. You may be thinking that you can’t help others until your storm is over, but believe me, you can! In fact, one of the purposes for your storm is to give you understanding and sympathy for others in a storm.
Isaiah 58:6-9: Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to cloth him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
Your help comes when you start caring and helping others.
I read this poem recently, entitled “Weather Report.” It talks about dancing in the rain.
Any day I am vertical is a good day, that’s what I say. And I give thanks for my health.
If you ask me, “How are you?”, I’ll answer. “I’m great” because in saying so, I make it so. And I give thanks I can choose my attitude.
When Life gives me dark clouds and rain, I appreciate the moisture that brings a soft curl to my hair.
When Life gives me sunshine, I gratefully turn my face up to feel its warmth on my cheeks.
When Life brings snow, I dash outside to catch the first flakes on my tongue, relishing the icy miracle that is a snowflake.
Life’s events and experiences are like the weather—they come and go, no matter what my preference.
So . . . I might as well decide to enjoy them. For indeed there IS a time for every purpose under Heaven.
Each season brings its own unique blessings. And I give thanks.
I know many are facing tough times these days; the economy is in bad shape, jobs are hard to find, many are losing their homes, and others are fearful of what the future holds. But my friends, if you belong to Jesus you have what it takes to dance in the rain, to truly be joyful in the Lord always.
The Psalmist wrote: “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever” (Psalm 30:11-12).
I hope you’ll truly determine, by God’s grace, not to let fear or worry or despair overtake you. Instead to say with Job:
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold (Job 23:10).
So, as you face your storm today—or whenever it comes along—ask God to show you how to dance in the rain. To rejoice even in the midst of the storm. It is the joy of the Lord that is our strength, and if you will choose to dance in your storm, you will have the strength you need to endure it.