December 22, 2010
This has been the most rain I can ever remember in a week. Six days of rain accumulating to 10 inches in my town of Redlands. I haven’t experienced anything like it since my childhood at boarding school on the Amazon River. I remember times where the whole soccer field was covered with inches of water. We would play soccer barefoot in shorts, no rules applied – using hands, tackling, sliding, it was perhaps some of the most fun I ever had. Listening to the relentless rain pounding on my roof all night long reminds me of listening to the rain pound the tin roof of my dorm room. I love the rain! I’ve always missed it since I moved away from the Amazon.
There is a song about rain that stirs my soul and fuels my desire to encounter the Almighty God personally, and in our worship services at Trinity. Let It Rain was captured in a dramatic way on Michael W. Smith’s first worship project, titled, Worship. You can listen to it here as you read the rest of this.
The lyric is simple, thousands of people singing, “Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven.” The desire is sincere, for the overwhelming presence of the Almighty God, the knowledge and experience of his glory. Psalm 99 is quoted in the midst of the song, ending with this statement, “The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.” (Psalms 97:6 ESV) The longing is to see and experience the glory of the Lord.
At the best times of my life, that desire successfully unseats all other desires and leaves me desperately longing to know God intimately. We’ve seen this desire in the Scriptures, “Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” (Exodus 33:18 ESV) David longs for the Lord with the similar desire. “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.” (Psalms 63:1-2 ESV)
I want to experience God’s presence, his power and glory like the downpour we have experienced this week, especially in our worship services. Yet, here’s the wonderful thing about God’s glory. The gospel has changed everything. The language the Scriptures use is that the veil has been removed. These passages below are deep with meaning, and worth unpacking their reference to the Old Testament experience of the Lord compared to our New Testament experience in Christ. I only mention them here to demonstrate that knowing Jesus is beholding the glory of the Lord.
“But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18 ESV)
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV)
And so my desire for 2011 is to know Jesus more, in my daily life, and certainly when I gather with my church family to corporately worship the Almighty God. I look forward to those moments when the downpour comes, and I will pray for it every week as I plan and experience our worship services. But I think the most important thing is to experience the presence of the Lord in the little ways all of the time. For he is always there, living inside of us through the Holy Spirit, “dwelling in our hearts through faith.” (Eph. 3:17) This is the wonderful gift and privilege for all who believe in Christ.