Boy at the rainy window
Luke Marshburn

Luke Marshburn

To me, that sounds like such a picturesque line. I’m a writer, I’ve got a hundred stories floating through my head at any given moment, and when I heard one of my characters say this, it brought a smile to my face.

It was the first line to a song, a promise, and I imagined a sun shower, the person carrying someone piggyback as a rainbow already paints the sky. The carried one has a high viewpoint now and can see far down the road, they lift their face and let droplets caress it.

Or maybe the carrier is wearing a raincoat, and they’ve ensconced their friend close to the chest, safe from the wet world. Sure, it might get a little smelly in there, but being dry is worth it. The carrier moves with a spring in their step down a cobblestone path, sprinting towards a break in the clouds, moving at skating speeds as the water slickens their way. They’ll both be out of the storm soon.

…I’m sitting on my grandparents’ back porch in the middle of a tropical storm; the next line in the song goes, “and when the path is broken glass.”

I am in the rain right now. My idyllic fantasy melts away. With the wind pushing as fast as a truck on the highway, the rain hits like hot oil, a spattering that leaves them wondering if skin will blister from the blow.

That cobblestone path becomes a slog of sand and mud. As feet slip against the stones, the rough edges prick, ankles rolling. Raincoat or not, the deluge drenches them both.

And if it’s a headwind? That journey is slow-going. Any break in the distance will be lost to the sheet of rain, shawl to their eyes.

Does the carrier walk blindly? Yet if the options are to keep moving towards shelter or to give up in the middle of a wilderness, perhaps going is the best option. The promise the carrier makes is not one given lightly. It’s a promise of companionship, to aid in survival, to share in a miserable suffering.

It strikes me that perhaps God promises us the same thing. Not that he’ll always hold back the rains and fill the path with sun. Not even that he’ll shelter us under the coat of his wings to block out all the wind and the cold.

Maybe what he promises is that he’ll be there. He’ll stand with us in the storm. He’ll pull us onto his back, and as he trudges through the mud, we’ll cling to his neck, shivering, wishing for it all to end. Still he moves. We move with him, not of our own will, but through his strength. Our companion, he gets us closer to those clear skies that may be long out of sight. He won’t leave us to drown alone.

And, perhaps, he’s called us to do the same. Not to say that God isn’t enough, but rather that he’s given us each other as examples of his presence. We can be like him and help those around us. We can be that character promising, “I will carry you through the rain.”

In the midst of this COVID resurgence, plenty of people may be feeling like a storm is bearing down upon them, wind driving them to their knees. They beg God for a ray of sun to paint the horizon with hope.

While we can keep praying for that sun, let's not forsake the body in the meantime. We can't get them out of the storm.

What we can offer may appear to be of very little benefit. But we can endure the pain with them, let them know they're not alone. A phone call; a text message; an email; a close encounter if it seems wise for all involved; but whatever we do, let us love one another with our words and deeds.

And when we can’t carry on ourselves, when the broken road scrapes our feet? Let's accept that coffee break, answer the phone call, read the text message. It just might be God yanking us up onto his back.

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