Pray softly, and carry a big umbrella.

When praying for rain, carry an umbrella

Pray softly, and carry a big umbrella.
When asking for help, show faith before you get an answer. Image source: Flickr.com; some rights reserved.

I’ve heard the old saying that “life is not a bed of roses” for as long as I can remember. I understand what it’s trying to convey, but I’ve also thought that it would not really be all that great to lie down on a bed of sharp thorns. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say our journey will have its ups and downs.

Whether it’s a financial worry, a medical situation, family problems, a concern for the world or discouragement at the relentless grind of our jobs, life can be tough. However, in the midst of all that is going on, we can always turn to God, who is filled with an endless source of strength, hope and love.

We can choose to embrace the encouraging truth that God cares about our problems. He has the power and the solutions to give us the victory no matter the size of our mountain or how dark the night.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” II Corinthians 9:8.

Yes, there are bumps in the road that can help us learn about faith and patience, but whatever the crisis, it is not God’s intention for us to dwell in a state of defeat. In spite of being surrounded by negative forces, we have been given the opportunity through Christ to abide in His presence, where there is an abundance of joy, security and peace.

In John 10:10-11, we find the words of Christ: “The thief comes not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: but I (Jesus) have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”

Whatever the situation, He has promised that He wants to save you and bring you through your trials stronger and more confident than ever.

There is also a very important component in receiving His abundant blessings: Our responsibility to believe. If we do not have faith, it’s not only impossible to please Him but also highly unlikely that His miracles can be activated into our life.

In Jeremiah Chapter 29, we see in Verse 11 that we are always on His mind, and He has planned very good things for us to enjoy. But continuing in the context, the next two verses mention for us to take the initiative to call upon Him, pray and seek His presence with all of our heart, which of course includes the elements of trust and assurance.

I recall a story about a small farming community that had been experiencing a terrible drought. The pastor of the local church called a special prayer service for all the people of the town to gather in front of the church and spend some time agreeing in faith that God would send some rain.

Many people arrived. As the pastor was getting ready to begin, he saw a young girl standing quietly in the front. Her face was beaming with excitement, and then he noticed she was holding a large colorful umbrella. As he stared at the umbrella, he was a little ashamed that he had not brought one but also felt a sudden surge of hope and confidence.

The little girl’s childlike innocence warmed his heart as he realized how much faith she possessed. Though the town had come together to pray for rain, it seemed no one else had really believed or at least anticipated getting wet.

A life without a positive expectation and a hopeful anticipation of goodness is an example of the miserable pessimist who abides in the shadows of fear, doubt and sadness. The world and even our own human nature is constantly telling us it’s impossible, it’s risky, it’s hopeless, but faith will always believe that nothing is too difficult for God, and all things are possible with Him.

DR. BILLY HOLLAND lives in Central Kentucky with his wife, Cheryl, where he is a Christian minister, author and community chaplain. Read more articles and stories at billyhollandministries.com.