For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
The evening of Chrisâ€™s and my first date was a gloomy one. I parallel parked my little Yaris several blocks from the Cambridge, MA, restaurant where weâ€™d planned to meet. I was thankful that it wasnâ€™t actually raining as I made my way on foot in rain boots that decidedly didÂ notÂ match my outfit. At least my hair wouldnâ€™t be too frizzy if the rain held off. A mild inconvenience, I thought, but nothing ruinous.
After dinner, the rain had set in, and we walked with linked arms under his umbrella back to my car. â€œI love the rain,â€ he commented with satisfaction.
â€œReally?â€ I asked. â€œWhy?â€
Looking out at gray sidewalks and the reflection of traffic lights in street puddles he responded, â€œItâ€™s like the whole earth is being made new, refreshed.â€
â€œHuh,â€ I said, making sure I was taking in the same scene he was. â€œI guess, but Iâ€™ll take the sun of a crisp fall afternoon any day.â€
Though I still prefer those fall days, since moving to Vermont, I have developed a deeper appreciation for the renewal that rain brings. Here, when it rains, the colors deepen and the streams fill. The necessity of water for growing food, whether in home gardens or large farms, is much more apparent than it was in the big city. Rain, as Isaiah says, brings seed to the sower and bread to the eater. Rain is refreshing in and of itself, and also refreshingly purposeful in bringing forth fruit.
Neither the rain nor Godâ€™s word, Isaiah says, will return to God empty. Each carries with it a transformative power that canâ€™t not work. As we watch the rain transform our world this week, may we take comfort in the fruitful refreshment that is a part of Godâ€™s plan.
I look forward to worshipping together again this week in our new format. Thank you for your feedback thus far, as well as your patience as we make improvements, particularly to the online experience.