With spring comes the rain, making it possible for everything to become lush and green again after a long hibernation. As I sit down to write this post, I hear the rain beating gently on the window behind me. It’s a comforting sound that brings a sense of peace, and makes the house seem that much cozier.
For most summers growing up, I attended a Methodist camp in Pennsylvania, where I learned a simple song (which you can hear here), whose lyrics didn't make sense at the time.
I saw rain drops on my window, joy is like the rain. Laughter runs across my pane, slips away and comes again. Joy is like the rain. I saw clouds upon a mountain, joy is like a cloud. Sometimes silver, sometimes gray, always sun not far away. Joy is like a cloud. I saw Christ in wind and thunder, joy is tried by storm. Christ asleep within my boat, whipped by wind, yet still afloat. Joy is tried by storm. I saw rain drops on a river, joy is like the rain. Bit by bit the river grows, ’til all at once it overflows. Joy is like the rain. ("Joy is Like the Rain," Miriam Therese Winter, Medical Mission Sisters, 1966)
Back then, I didn’t understand how joy was like rain or clouds, much less what it meant to be “tried by storm.” (It wasn’t till years later that I realized the laughter was running across my pane, not my pain – but by then I could appreciate the wordplay.) But time and experience have a way of revealing such things, and I know now that joy is like that gentle, reassuring rain that brings new life. Joy reminds us, too, that our hope, like the light and warmth of the sun, is never far away even when it is obscured. And though our joy is tried by storm, Christ is with us in our boat even when we’re being tossed about. As we mature in our faith, joy grows within us until it overflows.
Joy doesn’t promise us blue skies, calm seas, or a problem-free existence. But joy finds its source in Christ, the one who is with us in the boat even when our problems overwhelm us. He is our joy, and he commands our destiny.