Hail on a Sunny Day

Every once and a while we get a day here in Western Washington where the sun is shining brightly in a blue sky, but the trailing edge of a storm is also depositing the last of its moisture. I call it sunny rain. If you can get to the right location, the reward is often a glorious rainbow, but even when I don’t get to see the bow in the sky, sunny rain is about my favorite weather.

I was reading over the account of the “relief of Gibeon” and it struck me, for the first time, the sun is shining and there are hailstones – no report of clouds. That takes sunny rain to a whole new level. If you are not familiar with the account: Israel chooses to honor a hasty covenant they had made with Gibeon (they didn’t check with God first), and when Gibeon is attacked by a five-city coalition, they march to break the siege. The story is an amazing account of God’s action to fulfill His purposes. During the running battle, hailstones fall from the sky and kill more enemies than the Israelite army. 

I’ve seen some hail, but in my experience, it is usually not bigger than a lima bean – it might sting a bit on the bare skin, but there’s no fear of death (unless you're driving in it and spin out). These had to be some hailstones! The biblical account doesn’t say how the Israelites soldiers avoided the hail, but I can easily picture the hail starting on that sunny day and Joshua and company just stopping to watch in wonder. Again, Scripture doesn’t tell us what happened, so I’m just speculating. But given my delight in sunny rain, I sure would have stopped to look around if hail started falling on a sunny day.

God does some surprising things. He regularly seems to interact in our experience in ways that disrupt our expectations. Sometimes these moments produce awestruck wonder and sometimes they seem more designed to invite desperate dependence. But in either case, we are reminded that God is under absolutely no obligation to fit into our patterns or expectations. 

I do sometimes think that part of the struggle that we Western Christians have with our own personal faith as well as with sharing our faith is that as a culture (both inside and outside the Church) we have accepted a “small” or “tame” view of God. We quietly view God as a bigger version of ourselves. Hail on a sunny day reminds me that God is transcendent – I can’t fathom Him or understand Him fully. 

I think it’s okay not to have all “the answers” about God, He’s too big, too amazing, too excellent. Living with some mystery is good for the soul. There is a sense of wonder about this infinite Creator who loves us that I think we need to reclaim. 

Pursue Christ – He is enough,

Pastor Jeff