• James Shepherd

Remove the Tarp; Let in the Rain


The first gentle fall rains have hit. I love the rain. It reminds me of God’s tender care for all of us. It rains a lot here in western Oregon. At least for about nine months of the year. However, the summers are dry, and this year the plants have gone months without any rain. A little thirsty and dry – perhaps a little wilted – these plants are now soaking in the refreshing rain.


These plants didn’t do anything to ‘deserve’ the rain. There are no ‘deserving’ plants and ‘undeserving’ plants. The rain falls on all equally. Similarly, we don’t have to be someone special or do something spectacular to ‘deserve’ being the recipient of God’s goodness and love. Giving us goodness is God’s job! We know that God is always caring for us – always raining down goodness. God has no dry season.


But we all go through difficult times, and sometimes we might feel a lot like a dry, dusty plant. What’s up with that? Has God stopped giving us goodness – stopped being Good? No, God is Principle, the constant source of all good. Love can’t stop being its constant loving self. It can’t help but rain love on Its creation.


When we’re feeling dry and dusty, it’s not that God has stopped raining goodness on us, but it’s more like we’re a plant under a tarp and the rain can’t get to us. The tarp is like those wrong thoughts that keep us from feeling God’s goodness. Thoughts of dislike instead of love. Thoughts that say that we, or others, are sinful, imperfect, and physical instead of pure, perfect, and spiritual.


Sometimes it’s not so easy to remove the tarp. Sometimes we want to hang on to some of those wrong thoughts – we may think they’re somehow a part of us. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we have wrong thoughts. So, it takes self-examination and self-awareness to realize what we’re letting into our thinking. Any thought that isn’t good isn’t Godlike, and we don’t have to hang on to it. Again, not always easy to do. It can take a lot of work.


Prayer can be a helpful tool to help us see and examine our thoughts! As we pray, we hear divine thoughts – what God is telling us – which replace and remove those wrong thoughts. God’s thoughts are always true thoughts, so prayer brings our thought into better alignment with what is already true – the present reality of God’s total goodness. In this way, prayer removes the tarp (the wrong thoughts) that blocks us from receiving God’s goodness. Then, like a plant in a gentle rain, we soak in the goodness that God is always showering upon us.

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