Last Sunday at the little country church the congregation sang “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing.” The drought, heat, and now the recent ravaging prairie fires have made us Nebraskans continually aware of the need we have of rain. It’s a shared longing. It’s the prayer of our hearts. There shall be showers of blessing; Send them upon us, O Lord.
Right in the middle of singing the hymn, I thought how childlike it is to imagine God up in the sky deciding whether and where to send down the needed rain. Deciding on the basis of what? Our prayers? Our conduct? As we all know, the hymn-writer used rainfall only as a metaphor for spiritual blessings upon the soul. And Jesus himself said that our Father in heaven sendeth the rain on the just and on the unjust.
Why pray for rain, then? Why ask, humbly and persistently, for our daily bread, for guidance, for mercy, for pardon, for peace? I have been thinking on these things. Such prayers, if they tell of our hearts’ true yearnings, may cause us to realize how little in life is within our control and influence, how much in life can be received only as a gift.
There shall be showers of blessing,
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.
–(Daniel Whittle, 1840-1901
”One day closer to the rain,” my Uncle Albert used to say, standing in the doorway of his barn, studying the sky. There shall be showers of blessing. Oh, that today they might fall.