We’ve had a bit of rain this month. Okay, a lot of rain. We’ve had some form of rain every day for the past three weeks straight, and the forecast looks like rain for the rest of the month at least. Flash flood warnings are issued on a regular basis. My boys have had rescheduled baseball games canceled. The last time they had an actual game was over two weeks ago. School was dismissed early twice in one week for potential flooding, and this morning we have a two hour delay. It’s been crazy. I’ve never seen a May quite like this. And with all this rain, it’s hard not to get depressed. I feel cooped up, and the skies are usually overcast and grey. Not exactly the weather to keep one’s spirits high. But the other day I discovered something that gave me hope.

It was a rare morning because it wasn’t raining, so I took the opportunity to take the dog for a much-needed walk. As usual, the skies were overcast, but as I walked I saw an actual shadow. It was faint, true, but it was a shadow nonetheless, the kind that the sun makes on the ground when it’s actually shining. So I looked up at the sky and saw it. Blue sky. Just a small patch of it, mind you, but blue sky nonetheless, with just a touch of sun shining through the break in the clouds. The rest of the sky was still overcast, but that little patch of light reminded me that the blue sky is always there. Oh, sure, we can’t always see it, but it’s there. It may be covered by clouds and marred by rain, but if you get high enough, it’s up there. It never goes away.

I see in that example a metaphor for life. We may have beautiful, sunny periods where life is good and the skies are clear and blue. We bask in the sunshine and feel blessed and know God is watching over us. But life isn’t all sunshine. There are also times when we go through periods of rain and overcast skies. We may go through periods in our lives that seem like they will never end. We barely make it through one storm before another hits. It’s easy to get depressed and discouraged. Like the sun hiding behind the clouds, we feel like God has left us. We can’t see or feel His presence, and we may even start to doubt Him. But He’s there.

As much as I’d love to see the sun every day and have its bright light fill my house with a cheerful glow, I know that without periods of rain the crops will die. The earth needs rain. God knows this. And it’s the same thing in our own lives. Sure, we would love unending periods of happiness and sunshine. But we need trials and hardships to mold us and shape us. Think of the spoiled child who gets everything he or she wants. Not a pleasant person to be around, especially once he or she becomes an adult. Good parents know that they can’t give their kids everything, nor should they bail their children out at the first sign of trouble. Their children need to grow and learn from these experiences. But good parents are always there for their children, even when their kids have to bear the consequences of a bad decision. Likewise, God is always there for His children, even when we can’t see Him.

Our perfect heavenly Father knows when to allow gloomy days and trials to afflict us. But take hope. Even in the midst of overcast skies, you just may catch a glimpse of blue skies underneath, reminding you that the Son is still shining. And someday, someday, you will experience the warmth of the Son in heaven, where no rain is needed, for God will “wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Indeed, the new Jerusalem, heaven, is described in Revelation 21:11 and 23 as follows: “It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel… The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” Take heart, dear one. No matter how grey your skies may be, one day you will experience eternal Son-light.