Reading the Bible is like rain gently falling on your heart and life: cleansing, nourishing, replenishing. In fact, God Himself likens His Word to rain in Isaiah 55:10-11: For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (NKJV)
You can't live here in western Washington without at least making a begrudging, acquiescing friendship with rain. My two youngest daughters who've lived in Washington since they were little absolutely love the rain. And I have to admit, there's something cozy about the rain. I love to fall asleep at night with the window open when it rains; it has such a gentle, soothing sound.
Close your eyes for a moment and think about what rains does. If you let your mind camp on that thought, that picture, for a few minutes, you can envision, and even hear, all kinds of things: cracked, parched earth thirstily drinking in the rain after long weeks of drought, the dirt melting together once again, closing up the cracks; dried streams starting to run again, first a little trickle, then gaining momentum as it dances and swirls, laughing and splashing its way down a hillside; with more rain, a waterfall begins to thunder and roar with mighty power; dry, brown grasses turn green almost overnight; little children stomp in puddles, with or without galoshes (What child can resist a puddle?!); the earth seems to sigh with relief as it turns its face upward in joy and gratitude. Now picture the Word of God falling like rain upon your heart. Think of all the things the Word will do in your life.
Our hearts, I believe, are a microcosm of the universe. I will repeat what I wrote in a previous blog: Everything in the physical realm was created as a metaphor of the spiritual realm. When you begin to see the world, the universe, through that lens, the observation of nature and the study of science take on whole new, fascinating dimensions. The Bible itself is LOADED with metaphors, physical examples that help us understand spiritual truth, word pictures that transition us into the invisible realm of the spirit.
Metaphors have power. They not only have the capability to capture our imaginations, but they lodge in our memories; they stick. Beyond that, metaphors also run deep. The more you think about them, meditate on them, the more spiritual truth you see and comprehend. More than once the Bible exhorts us to meditate on God's Word, telling us in no uncertain terms that this is where the blessing lies (Psalm 1:1-3; Joshua 1:8). Metaphors enable us to do that without a great deal of mental struggle to concentrate. Metaphors are tangible; we can employ our senses and get involved.
Have you ever read the Bible and then realized you hadn't "heard" anything you just read? Your eyes read the page, but your mind was occupied somewhere else? Well, I certainly have. I've discovered that I can keep my mind engaged if I'm actively looking for something. How about reading through the Bible looking for (and writing down!) all the metaphors. Then choose one to meditate on throughout the day. A few years back I did that as I read through the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations. I filled page after page in my Bible journal with metaphors. It not only gave me insights into spiritual truth, but it also acted as a window into the heart and mind and character of God. Now that's a metaphor for you right there: a window. (I'm using the word metaphor in its broadest meaning, including similes under that heading—for you English buffs!) Metaphors are our window into the eternal. Keep your eyes open. Write them down. Meditate. It will be like rain.