A friend of mine got married in October at a ranch owned by her groom’s family on Florida’s Nature Coast. It happened to be the same day that Tropical Storm Nestor rolled into the Florida Panhandle, dropping several inches of rain and spinning off tornadoes hundreds of miles from where the center of the storm made landfall.
My wife and I drove through numerous rain bands on our way to the wedding, and we prayed that the rain would hold off during the ceremony. Thankfully, things cleared up as the hour of the wedding ceremony approached.
The wedding was lovely, and it was a joy to watch these two young people express their love for and commitment to one another. They exchanged vows under a beautiful live oak tree, above which—we noted with alarm—the clouds were growing darker and more ominous.
The first raindrops fell as the officiant was wrapping up. Then, with cheers for the couple as they headed off for pictures, we made a break for the safety of the pavilion, chased by the incoming rain.
We were fortunate to stay mostly dry, though bands of rain still periodically drifted across the ranch during the reception. In the end, the couple was successfully married, and that’s what matters. It was a joyful time.
I tell this story because it seemed to me a bit of a microcosm of life in this fallen world. The uncertainty of whether the wedding would get rained out was in some ways a dim reflection of the uncertainty we live with every day. The remains of the flesh, the sin of other people, the corruption of the natural world, death and disease—all these things fill us with apprehension and dread. We strive for happiness in the meantime, and we are often successful, partly because we learn to ignore all the things that can go wrong.
Sometimes the rain passes us by. But sometimes it hits, and it hits hard. We must be clear-eyed about the fact that things will go wrong. The fallen world, Paul tells us, is “subjected to futility” and in “bondage to corruption” (Rom. 8:20–21). We endure suffering, and we groan as if in childbirth (vv. 18, 23).
But we must also be clear-eyed about the hope in our situation. For those who are in Christ, the suffering of this world has a redemptive direction—our release from corruption (vv. 23–25) and our glorification (v. 30).
Moreover, we who are in Christ are not alone in the midst of our trials. The Lord is with us by His Spirit, and He has promised never to leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). In the meantime, let us pray that the Lord would enable us to keep our eyes on Christ rather than on the potential travails on the horizon, for He who calls us is faithful to preserve us for Himself (1 Thess. 5:23–24).
Our sufferings are not the end of the story. One day, the clouds will break and the sun will shine through. On the glorious day of Christ’s return, all will be set right (Rev. 21:1–5). And that’s what matters.