It Never Rains in California in the Summer.
And then suddenly, one day, it did.
“It never rains in California in the summer,” I told my daughter with confidence as she contemplated her trip out here. “We can definitely plan a boating date.”
The next morning I woke up and sniffed the air. “It smells like it’s been raining,” I said to my husband.
“Impossible,” he responded. “This is summer in Los Angeles.”
And yet it had…not a crashing thunderstorm of the east coast variety but the cars were wet, the grass was damp and my nose was accurate.
What do I make of this phenomenon? Well, I tell you what I don’t make of it. The rain is rare enough that our boating trip is still on! But my complete confidence has been slightly shattered. (Okay I’m being a little overdramatic; it’s given me something to think about.)
On the one hand, the predictability of our physical world is a gift from the Almighty. We can’t begin to imagine what life would be like if one day gravity worked and next day it didn’t (okay, life would be impossible) or one day the sun shone by day and the next by night or…you get the picture. It is a kindness to us that our physical surroundings maintain a basic status quo, a basic reliability.
And on the other hand, sometimes the Almighty needs to shake things up – quite literally – with hurricanes and tornadoes and here in California, earthquakes (God forbid). And a little rain in the summertime. What’s the point? At the risk of being presumptuous, I think that one simple takeaway is just the reminder that we are not in control.
As man (and robots!) take more and more charge of our world, we begin to fall under the illusion that we are the ones running the show. This has been a challenge since time immemorial. The Almighty was afraid that when the Jewish people entered the land of Israel after wandering in the desert and began to grow their own food as opposed to eating manna that dropped from the sky, they would forget that it’s all a gift. How much more so are we at risk of forgetting in our modern age of technological advances and our city lives far removed from the realities of actually tilling the ground for food?
Because forgetting who is actually in charge is such a danger to our spiritual selves, the Almighty reminds us. He gives us wake-up calls – problems we can’t solve, diseases we can’t cure, “natural” disasters we can’t avoid – providing an opportunity to recognize our Creator and His dominance over all world, a chance to remember that He’s running the show.
I’m grateful for the rain the other day. It was an easy reminder – with no consequences, not even a slight inconvenience. I certainly hope (and pray) that it doesn’t rain on the day of our boating adventure (I’m making it sound like a much bigger deal than it is!) but even more importantly, I hope that I’ve reconnected with the Source of all life. And I hope (and pray) that a little rain was all that was needed…