Why does it always rain after you do the watering?
Why does it never rain when you remember your umbrella?
This is really going to be about prayer—I promise—but let me start with the weather. It was really hot last week. And it hadn’t rained in a long while. The grass in the park is looking pretty parched and the crabapple tree outside our kitchen window is losing its leaves. In July. And yet on Saturday, there was supposed to be this tremendous downpour.
Appropriately, dutifully, well-advisedly, we took our umbrellas with us when we went to visit family in Connecticut. Did it rain? No, not even a drop. The umbrellas sat in the back of the car like the three graces waiting for a dance. Wallflowers. Sunday, I decided, I’d better do something about that pathetic-looking crabapple, not to mention the hydrangeas, my geraniums, our basil and mint. Everything needed some water.
So I dragged the hose over and let it soak the ground. The sky was a cerulean blue, mind you, with just the occasional cumulus cloud to be picturesque.
An hour later the heavens opened. Thunder, lightning and rain splattering on the driveway and soaking the soil. Dodging a lightning bolt, I put away the hose. “I want you to know,” I told Carol inside, “the only reason it rained was because I was doing the watering.”
There are two ways of thinking about this:
1. The bad things that you fear will happen don’t happen if you’re prepared for them.
2. The good things happen when you help them along.
That’s the prayer part—I said I’d get to that. I sort of divide my praying time between the things that I don’t want to happen and the things that I do want to happen. And then, as the Bible says, the rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). I like to urge the good rains along.