After any number of days when heavy rain had been predicted but didn't come, we got a good downpour today. It's one of the theatrics of the Gulf Coast -- that sudden gullywasher when the bottom drops out and you can't even see to drive. Rain along the coast almost never falls in a steady drizzle. It comes in sheets and then is gone.
That weather is like a life lesson for the region. We get used to watching for trouble, living through trouble, moving on from trouble. It doesn't last forever.
There is lots of talk just now about reopening the beaches, sort of, and beginning to ease back into a more regular life. We don't want businesses to go under, but we don't want the virus to spread, either, because so far Baldwin County has been fortunate. And churches? The dilemmas there only multiply, for while we need spiritual companionship now especially, public worship can easily spread the disease among those most vulnerable.
We are looking for a patch of blue sky to tell us that all is clear.
Religious leaders came to Jesus one day and asked him to give them a sign from heaven. He reminded them that they watched for storms. "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' And in the morning, 'It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the sign of the times." Mark 16:2-3
Red sky at night, sailors delight; red sky in morning, sailors take warning. Here on the Gulf Coast, we do know how to watch for weather; interpreting the signs of the times, however, may be a different matter. It will take a lot of wisdom to know when and how to reopen. There may not be a clear blue sky to tell us.
This much we do know -- trouble doesn't last forever. There will be an end to the storm, and at some point it will be clear to all of us.