“Stand in the rain.”

Something about the rain just makes me feel so free.

I had met up with some new friends from Granada, and we were checking out the touristy things in Sevilla that I hadn’t had the chance to visit. We explored the cathedral, took a photo by the casket of USA’s “founder,” Christopher Columbus, and talked about how growing up, we’d always been told that our founding fathers were these heroes when actually, they were sadistic men who raped, murdered, and pillaged a land that wasn’t theirs to claim. After our intellectually grown-up conversation, we made our way to el Alcázar – the palace in Sevilla. We wandered through rooms of beautiful architecture, mosaics…

I found myself in a slightly underground tunnel. There was a long, shallow rectangle pond in front of me, leading to some kind of earthen wall with three large-ish holes in it. It was lit up, and I wanted to stand on that ground. There were locked gates blocking off the paths to the earthen wall, and I paced back and forth between the gates, reasoning some way to get past them. I was working up the nerve to jump them when a security guard came in and informed us that the palace was closing and it was time to go.

Walking out of the tunnel into the garden, I felt raindrops on my face. I looked up and smiled.

“It’s raining!!!”

A well of excitement burst within me and I began to frolic through the garden, up the stairs, and squealed as small bullets of hail fell from the sky. We stood under a doorway, waiting for the rain to subside. Eventually, we decided we didn’t mind the rain. So we left the palace and headed to look for a place to eat. We stopped at a place in front of the cathedral. I always find myself in  groups of folks who are not decision-makers. As the group went between suggestions, awkward silences, and tangents, I distracted myself with a group of buskers across the street.

There were about ten people singing in unison, standing in the open, even as the rain was pouring. A few of them had umbrellas, including a man holding one over the woman who was playing guitar. The song they were singing was in Spanish, but it was so familiar…

Without hesitation or thought, I walked right on over to the group of buskers. They were singing “Jesus Messiah.” I sang along in English. We all sang at the top of our lungs. For a minute, an older woman dressed in her Sunday best held her umbrella over my head as we sang together. She smiled as she told me that she had to leave. I smiled, “Está bien,” and continued to sing, now in Spanish. I had picked up on some of the words.

“Mi esperanza está en ti…”

I looked up at the sky, rain falling on my face, and smiled. There was a joy welling up inside of me, the presence of God on the streets of Sevilla, just like I had found him in the pews of Texas.

 

I think back now on when, going into this trip, I thought I was going alone…I would tell myself that I was traveling with my best friend. That God would be by my side every step of the way, and I would have no choice but to spend every moment with him. I was quickly corrected when I arrived at the airport in Madrid and instantly made friends. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of life, or the exhaustion, or the business…. It’s easy to forget God. And when there’s hurt…

Aren’t we fortunate to have a God who never forgets us? Isn’t he gracious, that he never lets go of us? He is so in love with us, and though he doesn’t need us, he wants us, and all of us. Every flaw we see, every broken spirit…

Even to the point where he will bring you out in the rain, just to feel his presence. Just to remind you that he is still here.

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