Nourishing Rain


The rain that often falls


Written by ANDRÉE SEU

January 10, 2012, 9:31 AM

Among the epistles of God writ large across the created universe (Romans 1:20) is found the everyday occurrence of gentle rain falling on a field: “… land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it …” (Hebrews 6:7). The farmer is glad for that rain. He scatters the seed on the ground. “He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself …” (Mark 4:27-28). We learn from this parable that the advance of the kingdom of God is sometimes beyond our understanding.

But here in Hebrews 6 the reference to frequent rain comes partly as a warning, to a church of Christians that are on the verge of bailing out. The field is your life, and the rain is the many goodly words and testimonies you have heard.

All those teachings and “neat insights” you scribbled down eagerly at retreats were meant to have a tangible yield. They were to “produce a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated” (the second half of verse 7). In other words, we are not expected to stay the same as we were last year. Every “rain shower” should transform us a little bit more—until we finally become firmly established (Colossians 1:23). In other words, obedience increases understanding.

Fields never stay the same, they keep changing and growing—“first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear” (Mark 4:28). Anything that has stopped growing has, in the nature of the case, started dying. There are only the two things, whether a marriage or an orchid—busy growing or busy dying. Like the children’s song says, “Read your Bible, pray every day, and you grow, grow, grow”; drift away, and you “shrink, shrink, shrink.”

We should be always “increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10), the “spirit of revelation in the knowledge of him” opening our eyes a little more (Ephesians 1:17-18). Your spouse should notice and wonder what got into you. You also “ought to be teachers” after a while (Hebrews 5:12), if not formally, then informally.

So what can we do? The moment we receive “neat insights” into God’s word, we are to obey them at once, and not merely discuss them and admire them academically. We have all experienced those gentle rains upon our souls, those moments of epiphany. The rain has not completed its intended purpose until the wheat has grown. The rain of God’s Word has not completed its intended purpose until you and I have obeyed it in concrete situations. When we respond in obedience, we “receive blessing from God” (Hebrews 6:7). What an invitation. How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? (Hebrews 2:3)?