“Do you mind if I tell you a wee story,” she asked?
“Not at all,” I said, relishing her Scottish lilt and a blossoming friendship. She’d approached me at Christian Associate’s Staff Conference and asked if we could talk. We spent an hour or so pouring out our hearts about the years we had, full of triumphs and trials.
She began her wee story:
She and her husband spent some time in the very northern part of Scotland last year and they came upon this beautiful spot. It was amazing–a beach on the top of Scotland. They vowed that this year they’d go there and spend a week camping because their time was so short last year.
So, this year they were ready. They packed a rental car with camping gear and drove north. When they reached the spot where they parked the car, it was pouring down rain, and they still faced a long hike to the beach.
The rain got very fierce. Her husband got out of the car and started unloading, but she wouldn’t get out. He knocked on the window, but she wouldn’t move. The rain was coming down in sheets sideways.
Finally, her husband got back in the car. “Why aren’t you coming?”
“Do we have to do this?” she asked. “Look at it out there! Let’s just turn around and find a campground.”
He looked at her. “We’ve been planning this trip for a year. We both want to do it. Let’s not let a little rain spoil it. Let’s press on.”
Eventually, he persuaded her to come out. She hefted on the backpack and trudged through the rain. About ten minutes into the hike, she felt her spirits lift, even when the rain stayed steady. Joy came over her with every step. By the time they reached their camping spot near the water, the rain had subsided, though the sun didn’t peek from behind the heavy clouds. They pitched their tent and went to bed.
The next morning the most amazing sunrise greeted them. And an amazing camping experience.
She turned to me. “You know, Mary, if we had followed my plan, we’d have stayed at a safe campground. It would have been easier, but we would have missed the sun dancing on the beach. I’m so glad my husband nudged me to take that step. It was a beautiful vacation. Because we took the risk.”
“That’s a great story,” I said.
“Isn’t that a lot like church planting?” She smiled. “It seems idiotic to go forward when the rain slashes through us. Everything in us tells us to quit and find something safe to do with our lives. All the while the rain keeps raging. But there is blessing if we just take that first little risk. And eventually, we see things we would’ve never seen if we hadn’t taken that step.”
She put a hand on my shoulder. “I know you’ve had a hard year, but God is bringing the sun. Keep walking through the rain.”
We ended our time in prayer, and her wee story stayed with me like fragrance after rain.