I found these sermon notes From Charles Spurgeon, saw the wonderful parallel between Grace and rain, God's marvelous creation.
May it fall all over you.
---Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
God challengeth man to compare with his Maker even in the one matter of the rain. Can he create it? Can he send a shower upon the desert, to water the lone herbs which else would perish in the burning heat? No, he would not even think of doing such a thing. That generous act cometh of the Lord alone.
We shall work out a parallel between grace and rain.I. GOD ALONE GIVETH RAIN, AND THE SAME IS TRUE OF GRACE.
II. RAIN FALLS IRRESPECTIVE OF MEN, AND SO DOES GRACE.
- We say of rain and of grace, God is the sole Author of it.
- He devised and prepared the channel by which it comes to earth. He hath “divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters.” The Lord makes a way for grace to reach his people.
- He directs each drop, and gives each blade of grass its own drop of dew, to every believer his portion of grace.
- He moderates the force, so that it does not beat down or drown the tender herb. Grace comes in its own gentle way. Conviction, enlightenment, etc., are sent in due measure.
- He holds it in his power. Absolutely at his own will does God bestow either rain for the earth, or grace for the soul.
III. RAIN FALLS WHERE WE MIGHT LEAST HAVE EXPECTED IT.
- Grace waits not man’s observation. As the rain falls where no man is, so grace courts not publicity.
- Nor his cooperation. It ”tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men” (Mic. 5:7).
- Nor his prayers. Grass calls not for rain, yet it comes. ”I am found of them that sought me not” (Isa. 65:1).
- Nor his merits. Rain falls on the waste ground.
- “Ah, grace, into unlikeliest hearts, It is thy wont to come; The glory of thy light to find; In darkest spots a home.”
IV. THIS RAIN IS MOST VALUED BY LIFE.
- It falls where there is no trace of former showers, even upon the desolate wilderness: so does grace enter hearts which had hitherto been unblessed, where great need was the only plea which rose to heaven (Isa. 35:7).
- It falls where there seems nothing to repay the boon. Many hearts are naturally as barren as the desert (Isa. 35:6).
- It falls where the need seems insatiable, “to satisfy the desolate.” Some cases seem to demand an ocean of grace, but the Lord meets the need; and his grace falls where the joy and glory are all directed to God by grateful hearts. Twice we are told that the rain falls “where no man is.” When conversion is wrought of the Lord, no man is seen. The Lord alone is exalted.
~ Charles Spurgeon
- The rain gives joy to seeds and plants in which there is life. Budding life knows of it; the tenderest herb rejoices in it. So is it with those who begin to repent, who feebly believe, and thus are just alive.
- The rain causes development. Grace also perfects grace. Buds of hope grow into strong faith. Buds of feeling expand into love. Buds of desire rise to resolve. Buds of confession come to open avowal. Buds of usefulness swell into fruit.
- The rain causes health and vigour of life. Is it not so with grace?
- The rain creates the flower with its colour and perfume, and God is pleased. The full outgrowth of renewed nature cometh of grace, and the Lord is well pleased therewith.
- Let us acknowledge the sovereignty of God as to grace.
- Let us cry to him for grace.
- Let us expect him to send it, though we may feel sadly barren, and quite out of the way of the usual means of grace.
In the last years, I have gone through the crucible of self-worth. I used to enjoy raking in the accomplishments, the acknowledgements, the kudos. 'After all, I thought, I am just using the abilities God gave me. And besides, I am faithfully obeying to : From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48).' My focus turned to me, my brand, my recognitions, my successes. It was fulfilling and I was doing really well. Until I wasn't.
I felt like a juggler who had an impressive amount of balls in the air, masterfully wowing a crowd I cared far too much for. Each ball had a different word on it: Church, Work, Family, Money, Kids, Wife, Friends, Sports. All up in the air, being handled beautifully. The applause was wonderful, the 'wows' were raining from the sky. I felt like a somebody.
Now, God was there in the ring with me, in the corner, looking intently at me, not as amused and impressed as the crowd behind Him. While I was still juggling, He slowly picked up a ball lying on the ground. He wrote some words on it. I was too busy looking at my own performance to notice anything He was doing.
Then, at the highlight moment in my juggling act, He threw the new ball into my act. It was red. It was heavy. Very heavy. I just had a few seconds to read what He had wrote on it: Wife's Cancer.
I still tried to juggle and keep a straight face. I was still pretending that I could handle it, but the ball was getting heavier. Sweat was streaming down my brow. But I needed the applause, I needed the validation. So I kept going, and the red ball kept getting heavier.
I started dropping the balls. I quickly picked them up and started over. But they kept hitting the unforgiving ground and eventually shattered in millions of pieces. I couldn't perform anymore. I was at the end of me. The clapping stopped. The 'boos' started coming. I tried harder, but to no avail. Grumbles were becoming more audible. The crowd started to get up and leave. I begged them to stay, promised them a better performance. But there was another show opening not too far away, and I had lost them.
And so I was alone with God in the ring. I desperately searched for a crowd, but the seats were as empty as I felt. I finally turned to Him, standing in the corner, looking at me.
'Why did you throw in that big red ball?'
'Was I not doing well? Was I not amazing? Was I not using your gifts?'
'Didn't you see the crowd?'
'Don't you see I have nothing now?'
'I feel so empty, so lonely, so lost. I don't know what to do now.'
No answer, but a small smile was starting to radiate from His glorious face.
I dropped to my knees
'OK, Lord. I give up. I can't pick up any of my balls, they are all broken. I can't do anything for any applause, they all left. I'm sorry, I tried everything, and I failed. I need something to fill me. I don't know what makes me valuable anymore.'
A bright white ball appeared in front of Him, collecting all the dirty pieces of my old balls lying on the ground. It had become filthy, red, and far too heavy for anyone I knew to pick it up.
But He picked it up, cleaned it, made it whiter than snow, and, with His finger, wrote one word on it. He walked over to me, beaming with glory. Under every one of His steps, the word Grace was left as an imprint on the ring floor.
'Get up and take this, it is everything', He said. 'The more you will let this satisfy you, the happier you will truly be. You do not need to juggle anymore. Just hold this new ball and let it become you. And do this for Me only, noone else. I am the only crowd you will ever need.'
I got up, took the bright shining ball in my hands. It filled me in ways I could not have imagined. My destiny was now linked to better understand it and become more like it. 'Thank you' I whispered.
He moved back into the corner.
I admired the word He wrote on the bright, white ball He placed in my hands. I smiled as I read the name I thought I knew well, but forgot. It was my first love. It was the name that was above all others. It was the most majestic and most personal of names. It was the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. It was the perfect blend of Grace and Truth. It was the Word incarnate.
It was Jesus.