We were supposed to walk or run this morning. The 30+ women who are preparing for the Madison 4-Miler at the end of August. The main event in our community to raise money for Breast Cancer Care at the University of Virginia.
It started raining last night. It rained — hard — all night long. It was raining even harder this morning.
The organizers had said when we started three weeks ago that we would meet — and walk or run — every Saturday morning, rain or shine. We had experienced the “shine” our first two weekends. Today was our first encounter with the rain. And it was RAIN — the “all caps, bold, exclamation point” kind of RAIN.
I was the first one to arrive. Not a good sign. You had already put on my heart what You wanted me to do, Lord. Walk… no matter what.
Another car pulled up. One of the organizers. She said most people weren’t coming. I told her I was going to stay. I walked to the pavilion (the starting point for today’s 1.5 mile route). Two more cars arrived at the base of the hill. They conferred with each other, then all but one left. The one — another organizer — came to tell me they were cancelling.
She was going to stay a little while longer, in case anyone else came, so she could send them home. She confirmed the orginal plan was “rain or shine” but she added, “There’s rain and then there’s RAIN.” That’s when You impressed on me to share why I was staying.
I said: “For me, it’s symbolic. As a Survivor, I know sometimes it rains and sometimes it RAINS — really hard… yet you have to keep going. So today, I’m going to walk in the rain for all those who are having to keep going in The RAIN. I’ll carry the torch and pray along the way.”
“And we know that in all things [rain and RAIN] God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
I set out on my 1.5 miles, which turned out to be down a gravel road that went into an isolated area, hidden from view. I heard what I thought were footsteps behind me. The sound was so loud I turned around to see if this woman had followed me.
No one was there.
Hmm… My “City Girl Hackles” went up. Maybe walking alone wasn’t such a great idea after all. It wasn’t fear, per se… just an awareness of Your gentle nudge to go back and ask if it was safe for me to walk it alone.
I returned to the pavilion. Two other women had joined the organizer by then. Just as I arrived, a third drove up. The third was a fellow Survivor, one You had given me the privilege of encouraging last year.
I asked my question — Is it safe? — and got the one answer I didn’t really expect. “Yes… but you won’t be alone. We’re all coming with you. After all… What’s a little rain?”
“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17)
That’s what You had intended all along… wasn’t it, Lord? Two Survivors walking together, for a time of mutual encouragement. Three others, running in the rain — in solidarity — because You had given them Perspective.
“This is what the Lord says — He who created you… He who formed you: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you… For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” (Isaiah 43:1-3a)
Blessed and refeshed by today’s rain…
Blessed and refreshed — especially — by the presence of the Rain Maker…