For months, Pastor Wayne and his church leadership team plan a huge outdoor church service for a weekend when their rented facility will be unavailable. With the forecast predicting rain, everyone prays fervently for good weather.
The three church services span two days -- Saturday night and Sunday morning. At Saturday night's service, the clouds roll in. A light drizzle falls from the sky. The prayers go up.
"Lord, stop the rain!"
It drizzles on.
By Sunday morning, the light rain turns into a downpour. Everything and everyone gets soaking wet. Many people don't even bother attending.
Pastor Wayne feels discouraged. Even a bit angry. During worship, he prays...
"Lord, how could you let it rain today? We've worked so long and hard on the plans for this whole weekend. And now, many people stayed home because of the weather..."
After droning on and on, reminding God of all he's done for His Kingdom and protesting God's lack of intervention, Pastor Wayne finally shuts his mouth. When he does, he hears the Holy Spirit speak to his heart very clearly:
"You are more concerned about the absence of rain than the presence of God."
When I'm facing challenges, my focus should not be on eradicating the problems as much as it is on experiencing the presence of God within the problems.
Too many of my prayers are focused on asking God to remove the rain from my life. (The rain of relational issues, financial strain, or overcrowded schedules.) I need to be more purposeful about praying for God's presence in the midst of the rain.