Where’s the River If It Doesn’t Rain?

by | May 21, 2006 | God's Love

“If there is a God, why would He permit this to happen?” She asked of me.

Until recently I struggled to have an answer that I was comfortable with, myself. Yet, at least once a week someone writes to ask me that.

I am not a preacher nor a student of Bible studies. I cannot throw a Bible passage at every circumstance in life. But I have arrived at a point where I feel comfortable with an answer to this question.

I could easily say, “I don’t know.”

For a while I used the old, “God works in mysterious ways,” answer. It seemed to be a good enough, one size fits all reply to a million unexplainable events in life.

But through the course of the past four plus years I’ve been writing this message, I’ve come to my own conclusion.

Is it biblically correct? Will it fit every faith represented here? I just don’t know. But when I replied to one of my readers yesterday, it tied into a story line I was about to write and the result was…I felt very comfortable with saying it.

You must know by now that a single word, a phrase, or a look can catch my attention and sparks fly in the creative part of my being. It happened again on Sunday. I was watching a movie and one character asked, “Where’s the river if it doesn’t rain?”

I immediately grabbed my pen and pad to write it down.

Here’s what I heard: “If it weren’t for the rain we wouldn’t have rivers that take us somewhere else.”

All the rain in our lives, all the dark cloudy rainy days that wash away our dreams serve a greater purpose.

Our pain, our loss should take us somewhere else. The experience adds to our lives and moves us in a direction further along life’s pathway. Sometimes to a better place than those who have not suffered in life.

Then I read the message from one of my friends. She was struggling with her reality of God in her life. Unlike before, I didn’t hesitate to reply to her. I didn’t have to think about my answer. For without a doubt I am completely comfortable with it.

Perhaps today you find yourself in a doubting place because frankly, your life has hit bottom and you are wondering, “Why does God permit this?”

Here is my reply:

Dear Friend,

From the deepest part of my soul I hold by heart out to you, but right now, with the mindset that you are in, there is nothing I can say that you will agree with.

You know me from my writing. You know what I will tell you without even asking…but perhaps that is why you wrote to me today.

I can only tell you there is a God.

He’s the same God you loved when things were good in your life. The same God you prayed to when your needs were not as great. Perhaps an illness, a worry, a concern were on your prayer list during other times. You never hesitated to ask His help then, because you trusted Him. He is the same God your parents were grateful to when you were born and I rejoice in when I call you “friend.”

The same God you might have thanked a thousand times and never even realized it.

“Oh, thank God!”

Yes, He permitted this tragedy. Just as He permits every other horrific thing in this world. Rape, murder, cancer, aids, abortion etc.

Through my 52 years of life I’ve learned much, suffered some and painfully ached for the world around me. Through all of this I have come to this conclusion. This all comes, I believe, when He permitted us to have “choice.” He doesn’t force us to believe in Him. He even permits you to write to me denying Him. What He does offer in place of all of this is His love and eternity with those we love who have gone before us.

It is this challenge He gives us. Have the gift of choice over His will and the world will not be a perfect place. And so it is.

It was NOT His will to have this happen to you. But your redemption? If you believe in Him still, even after a terrible life, eternity will be the reward.

Choose not to believe and all that you have accomplished, all that you ever prayed for will be in vain.

Now, my friend. I know you didn’t write to me hoping that I would agree with you. You wrote to me hoping I’d tell you that you are in pain and mourning and even God will forgive you for doubting Him. But the greatest gift you can now give in return is to stand tall in the face of all this and serve as an example to friends and family, young and old, who are watching you. They are all looking for someone to lead them through this. If no one does then the loss is even greater, for everyone will die in spirit.

That, my friend, is the work of what I call the ugly one. The ugly one rejoices in your loss and then weaves doubt and confusion throughout the hearts and souls of all who love you. The ugly one not only gains joy in your pain, but gains souls in your doubt of God Almighty.

Mourn, my friend. Cry and pound your chest for your loss. God cries with you and lovingly waits for you to turn to Him once again.

I hope and pray that this is what you really wanted to hear. If not, it is, I believe, what you really needed to hear.

So, where’s the river if it doesn’t rain?”

Bob Perks Bob@BobPerks.com


Where’s the River If It Doesn’t Rain?