It was his signature scene. The inimitable Gene Kelly, a wide smile on his face, dancing with his umbrella in a downpour.
Singing In The Rain.
It is the signature I see each time my spiritual mentor sends an email or letter.
Singing In The Reign.
This 80-plus year old giant of faith, Jack Taylor, has known as much suffering as any leader I know. He also understands the concepts and practices of the Kingdom better than anyone I know. And his signature celebrates one of the greatest truths I know:
When you learn to sing in the rain, you will know what it means to sing in the reign.
You see, you can never really grasp how the overarching rule of Jesus is so far greater than the overwhelming circumstances in your life, until you face the unspeakable pain of loss.
If in those moments when all things seem to be working against us we can cling to the all things work together for us reality of the Kingdom, we will be able to dance in our rain because we live in His reign.
I have seen a lot of this up close and personal lately.
- It’s what my niece, Lenae, does every morning when she gets out of bed, gets her three beautiful boys ready and takes on life with a vengeance even after the loss of her precious husband.
- It’s what my wife, Dianne, does as she processes deep pain from our past, grieves the loss of her mother and perseveringly takes on a class full of first graders all at the same time.
- It’s what my friends, David and Caron, do constantly as they rebuild their life and ministry after the unspeakable loss of public failure.
These people consistently inspire my fragile faith as they dance into the pain that has become the norm in their abnormal situations and sing under the umbrella of grace.
Singing in the reign best expresses itself when we are singing in the rain.
They are in good company in this folly of faith. The Bible is replete with stories of the rain-song.
Paul and Silas were preaching and healing in Philippi. They were making people whole–breaking the chains that had held people all their lives. Through them, the Good News was literally freeing people from bondages that ruined their lives and shipwrecked their communities. (Acts 16:11ff)
For administering that freedom, they wound up in chains.
Beaten senseless, locked in the darkest recesses of a hell-hole prison, they did the only thing that made any sense.
They started singing in their rain.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…” (Acts 16:25a)
The nonchalant normalcy of that statement is one of the things that makes it sparkle. Like the insurance commercial, “when you get pounded and thrown in jail because you love Jesus, you sing. It’s what you do!”
At the point in life where trauma wed unfairness and birthed injustice, Paul and Silas remembered Who was really in charge. In the face of the inconsolable pain that rose from inconceivable circumstance, these two wounded warriors chose to believe that where evil abounded, grace abounded even more.
The limitations of bondage their enemy intended to squeeze the life out of them did. But what the Constrictor never expected would come out was praise.
Confidence in His reign transformed the chaos of their rain and gave them a reason to sing when no one else believed there was a song.
When they chose to sing in the reign, the chains fell off and they walked–or maybe danced—out to the Jailhouse Rock.
“Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” (Acts 16:26)
Freedom is always the result of choosing to live in the bigger story rather than the smaller struggle.