“It was 1852 and Oberlin, Ohio hadn’t seen rain in months,” Jackson begins.
By the sound of it, I’m in for a story and knowing Jackson, probably a sermon too.
“Yeah, I know this story,” I tell him.
I’m folding clothes and I don’t want to stop for words, don’t want to absorb food, nourish the soul. I know this story already and tell Jackson so. “The governor calls a gathering and they pray and it rains.”
The end. Story over. Let me get back to my very important work of laundry.
Jackson shakes his head. “No, not ‘they.’ He. A single man prayed.
The Pastor of the town church woke up that Sunday morning and sensed they should pray for rain.
There was no rain in the forecast. Hadn’t been for months. But he sensed they needed to ask God for it.
So he walked to church, led the congregation in prayer for rain, and started his message. Halfway through the service, they heard the storm clouds thundering, rolling in.
Now these were farming folk and rain was essential to their livelihood. When they heard the storm roll in, the Pastor, Charles Finney, stopped his preachin’ and began to sing. Soon, they heard the sound of rain… torrents of it… in the middle of a long drought season… when the forecast didn’t call for rain.
The church folk started crying in their pews.
God had heard and answered their prayer.”
Can you imagine being in that church house when the rain started coming down, knowing God Almighty had just granted your request?
“The thing is,” Jackson pauses and I do too. “The thing is, several eye witnesses reported they saw Finney that morning walking to church. And under his arm was a large, black umbrella.”
Praying for rain is one thing. Taking your umbrella with you is another.
James says faith without works is dead.
So, sure. You tell me it would have been strange, walking around with an umbrella during a drought.
And yes, it would have been crazy, believing God for a son when your wife was ninety or so.
It would have been downright stupid to take on an army spread out in the valley like grains of sand on the seashore… and you with only 300 men. (see Judges 7)
Unless you believe God.
When you believe God, you take your umbrella.
You trust for a child.
You face the giant.
You take on that army in the valley.
You do the impossible.
Because God is who He says He is and God will do what He said He’d do.
So sister? Today when you pray for your children… your husband… your witness… when you whisper words for a powerful ministry, for strength to fulfill your purpose? For boldness and love and beauty and grace?
Well, take your umbrella with you.
You’re gonna’ need it.
Just in time!
Slip something to your loved one that will rouse a bold faith in their soul? In yours too?
Invite your friend or loved one to a spiritual journey with Trust Without Borders: A 40-Day Devotional Journey to Deepen, Strengthen, and Stretch Your Faith in God.
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Slip to friends and watch for their umbrellas to come out :)
“But he did not waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.” Romans 4:20