Sermon Illustrations

Rain on the Rocks

We were on the last morning of a five day float down the Buffalo River in Arkansas. Our family joined another for the second annual Kale-Parker river trip. Everyone had their own boat and each was packed with supplies ranging from coolers, cook-wear, clothes, fishing gear, and hammocks to a mini- Big Green Egg. Things were stowed in dry-bags and waterproof boxes and piled into our combined 6 canoes and 4 kayaks. We were camped just past Skull Rock and in between White Bluff and Tyler Bend on a great rock-bar. The night had been filled with an Independence Day like firefly show as those little bugs lit up the night in the thousands. The next morning was when I noticed the rain on the rocks.

Just after sunup, I got out of my knock off Eno and made my way to our makeshift kitchen. I stumbled over the dusty brown rocks that made up our campsite as I filled the stainless steel pot with river water. Waiting for the joe to percolate, I listened to the water’s music as it rushed past our camp. That’s when the sky turned black and I saw the rain coming our way. I scrambled to makes sure everyone was ok and that canoes were turned over. I barely got that first cup of coffee poured when the rains came. We spend the next hour huddled under tarps as we waited out the rain. It only lasted an hour and it wasn’t that bad as river rains go. The tarp was still pitter-pattering from the wet willows overhead when I emerged from my haven. I was ready for another cup of coffee and needed to check on the kids.

During the rains, something magical had happened; the dusty brown river rocks had turned into brightly colored gems. It was awesome and inspiring. These same rocks that that seemed monotonously brown and earthy were now shiny and colorful. Tones of red, khaki, orange, brown, black, white, and gray were mixed like a bag of M&M’s. The ground was a wonderland of color that woke from its slumber after a rain. The dirt got washed off. Dull turned shiny. The true colors of this rockbed was only made visible after a rain.

Life’s rains will reveal our true colors, too. Many of us have been covered in life’s dust and dirt for way too long. We’re dry and in need of a good rain. Maybe, we’ve been going through the motions, but have lost our shine. Life has left us on the bank, and away from the river’s flow. We can feel discarded and forgotten. It’s easy to think that life is passing us by, just like the canoes that float down the Buffalo. Even so, the rains will come and will help us show our true colors again.

Most of us don’t like the rain, but it will always reveal our true selves. I’ve got some friends who are going through a divorce and it showing their true colors. They are beautiful people, even if they aren’t together anymore. Another friend has become a caregiver for her mother because the rains of cancer have flooded their reality. Someone else has experienced the rain of disillusionment in their career. The rains will come and remind us that life is tough, but they will always show our true colors.

I love the way James 1:2,3 is paraphrased in The Message: “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. “

Today, you might be huddling in the rain and waiting for the storm to pass. You might be tired of stumbling on life’s rocky shores. If so, I want to invite you to let your true colors shine. Let the rain wash off the dirt of your past and give you a chance to show the world who you really are and who you want to be. Don’t hate the rain; celebrate it. Remember that the rain gives you a chance to shine!

Love one. Love another.

Jack

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