Then there is the weather. There are no 2-3 month forecasts, at least none you can count on. Only once in 28 years have we hit a solid week of rain, but that was also the week we passed around a stomach virus—first Nathan, then Keith, then me, and finally Lucas—so the rain was the least of our problems.
In the other years, though, we have noticed this: it always rains on Tuesday. No matter where we camp or what year, Tuesday is the day for rain. Sometimes it’s one hour-long storm; sometimes it’s a day of passing showers; once in a while it happens at night while we sleep warm and dry in the tent. Those are the best years.
We have come to plan for it ahead of time. Sometimes we go on a day of shopping in a nearby town, replenishing the ice supply and picking up anything circumstances create a need for, like duct tape, batteries, a new air mattress once when we woke up flat on the tent floor one morning. Sometimes it’s browsing at a flea market, a used bookstore, or an antique shop. Sometimes it’s a scenic drive through a national forest. We know when we leave the house on Saturday that on Tuesday we will be doing one of these things.
One year we really hit the jackpot. Monday night at 11 pm, shortly after we were tucked into our sleeping bags for the night, the rain started and did not stop until 11 pm Tuesday night—24 hours straight of cold drizzle. We were in an unfamiliar campground in an unfamiliar area. The nearest town with decent shops was over 50 miles away. There were no indoor tourist spots nearby either. By breakfast Tuesday morning the “water resistant” screen-house over the table was saturated and had started dripping through. We obviously couldn’t sit there all day. So we gathered up books, Bibles, notebooks, a Boggle game with plenty of paper and pencils, a propane lamp and stove, and headed for the tent. We spent the entire day in that 16 x 10 tent reading, studying, playing games, talking, drinking hot chocolate, napping, and then starting the list over again. The day passed quickly for that kind of day, and the next we were back to sunny skies, hiking, and evening campfires.
Wouldn’t it be foolish for us to expect to be able to choose one week three months in advance, and think we could live outdoors without a chance of rain? Instead we go on, knowing it will happen, prepared for it, and determined to have a good time anyway.
Peter told those first century Christians not to be so naïve as to expect to never suffer. Paul told Timothy, Yea all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution, 2 Tim 3:12. We are promised all spiritual blessings, but health and wealth do not fall into that category. We are promised “a hundredfold” brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and children, but often their greatest worth is in the encouragement they offer during the trials of life. We are promised that God will never forsake us, but that matters far more in times of difficulty than in times of ease. In fact, it is usually in those difficult times that we come to realize our greatest blessings.
Only the shallowest of Christians expects God to make sure he leads a “charmed” life. We are called to be disciples of a Lord who suffered. A disciple follows in his Master’s footsteps. Why would we ever think we should be immune to the same suffering?
As long as you expect a week without rain, your life will be one of constant disappointment. Hope and pray for the best, prepare for the trials and tribulations, then live a life of joy when it rains on Tuesday.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which comes upon you to prove you as though a strange thing happened to you; but insomuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also you may rejoice with exceeding joy, 1 Pet 4:12,13.