Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sunshine on a rainy day

Today, with some mates from churches around Manchester, I got down and dirty doing a local Ground Force style project on a street in one of the city's really poor neighbourhoods (and doesn't my back know about it - ouch!). The weather forecast predicted a typical Manchester weekend - very rainy - so we all turned up with our Gore Tex expecting the worst. It wasn't long at all before the grey clouds overhead began to open up in a major effort to spoil our fun. It was at this point that the organiser of the project picked up the microphone that was attached to the little hifi system that had been bleating out groovy tunes and asked everyone to break from working so we could pray for the rain to stop. There were lots of people around including lots of local residents who were joining in with the effort. So yes, I was cringing. Big time. I just stood there wondering if God was really bothered whether we got wet doing the job or not. And then when the prayer was over I just zipped up my coat and got on with it hoping that the locals that the project was supposed be a 'witness' to would soon forget about it and not berate God later for failing to answer our prayer. Or worse, they might add this little incident to all the others in their mental file labelled 'Reasons Why God Does Not Exist'.
Except that literally within two minutes it had stopped raining and we even saw a little bit of blue sky exactly as requested. What a fluke! Except that about an hour later it all happened again... the rain started, Simon prayed, and the rain stopped. And then it happened again. 3 lucky strikes?! We took a break for lunch and then Simon had to leave to do something or other elsewhere. Not too long after lunch the heavens began to open again. Aha! No Simon now so no more crazy commanding of the elements. Except the foreman, Des, also a passionate follower of Jesus took on the prayer challenge. Once again, within a minute or two the rain abaited and we were able to work without getting soaked. Then, probably just less than an hour later those pesky clouds had yet another attempt at keeping us from our task. This time Des grabbed the mic and announced, "Quit what you're doing for a minute, Matt is going to pray for the rain to stop!" The thing is, by this time my faith had been so totally stoked by the 100% track record that I took the mic and did pray. I took a deep breath, looked at the sky, thanked God for the favour he'd shown us all day and then claimed blue skies over Argyle Street. I kid you not, within 30 seconds the skies were blue. Amazing and utterly baffling! My head's spinning...

Stumble Upon Toolbar

3 comments:

Paul said...

We used to have a lady at my church called Florence who became a Christian in her 70's and didn't bother much with 'correct' theology or Christian etiquette. She used to pray for good weather anytime we had an outdoor event (once memorably asking God to 'do his best') and as I recall had a 100% positive answer rate. Baffling this prayer thing. I've been trying to work it out for years. I'd much rather the millions of prayers for the safe return of little Madelaine were answered and you all got a good soaking yesterday. Mysterious ways indeed.

spurious said...

I stood on my balcony yesterday and hoped that the rain would stop, and shortly after that, it did. Without wanting to rain on your parade (pun intended), I don't think anyone would discount God's existence because he didn't stop the rain when someone asked him to - like Paul said, there's a myriad of things God chooses not to do that have far grimmer consequences then digging in the rain. The problem is that if the rain did stop, conversely that's not a point in favour of God's existence.

Matt Wilson said...

Chaps - I can see quite readily that as we inhabit a world of statistical improbabilities this episode could easily be just another in a great long line of flukes. But beyond that, one of the interesting things about this rain/shine thing from a personal point of view is that it's another incident in my journey of trying to work out not 'Does God exist?' but 'What kind of God exists?' which I find a far more colourful question. 'Does God exist?' is a bit too black and white for me.