Monthly Archives: May 2013

Tornadoes and Teenagers

You’ve heard the grumbling curmudgeons, and so have I.  These grumpy purveyors of society like to say things like: “Teenagers these days only think of themselves.  Grump. Grump. Grump. They simply want to listen to their iPods, stay in the basement killing Xbox Zombies and are completely oblivious to the world around them. Blah. Blah. Blah.”

 That hasn’t been my experience. 

 Granted most of the younger generation that I know tend to listen to their iPod more than me (I don’t even own an iPod).  And they are much more prepared should a Zombie apocalypse fall upon us. But the students I know are not world-ignoring, self-absorbed piles of goo in skinny jeans.

 Take last night at Central Church for instance.  In our youth group the students were reminded about the tornado tragedy in Oklahoma this week.  They were told that they could help and the greatest need at this point was money.  So these Zombie-shooting, iPod-listening, skinny jean-wearing students passed the hat.  When the crumpled up dollar bills and quarters were counted, these students showed how they are also neighbor-loving, world-caring, and selfless-giving people who collected (hold on to your hat) nearly $300! 

 One student (who does not have a summer job yet, by the way) opened his heart and put in all the money (totally emptying out his wallet) of the cash he just received for a report card full of good grades.  Give that boy another “A.”

 To these students I say, “Great job! You inspire me. I am thankful for your generosity!”

Migraines and Rainy Days

Rainy days are good for farmers, good for people who like cloudy days (read: Karla), and good for green lawns. Rainy days are good for a lot of reasons. They are bad for people who are prone to get migraines.

 I had a bad migraine yesterday. I believe the technical medical term is “a doozy.”   It was not bad as in “losing my lunch” bad, but bad as in “I was typing on the computer and the sound of the keys was like a tympani pounding in my melon and the refrigerator humming was like a jack hammer” bad. I don’t like headaches like that. It’s hard to concentrate; hard to have meaningful conversations; hard to work on sermons; hard to do just about everything that a pastor does with those kind of headaches.

I think the cold front coming in had something to do with my pounding head. So the rainy day was not my friend.

 Isn’t it weird how a blessing for one person can be a curse for someone else?

 Farmers and green grass lovers—rejoice. “Yahoo! It’s raining!”

Migraine sufferers do not. “Oh no, it’s raining.”

Jesus talked about rain as it relates to people. While preaching His most famous sermon (the Sermon on the Mount) He said, God “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Most people think that Jesus was saying God sends good things to good and bad people (read: the sun) and God sends bad things to good and bad people too (read: the rain). They interpret Jesus as saying whether you are terrorist or saint, you are going to get your share of good and bad from God.

 I’m not sure that’s what Jesus meant. In fact, I think Jesus was saying God is the giver of all things good.


Jesus wasn’t saying sun is good and rain is bad. Rather His point was the sun and the rain are both good things (even if rain clouds tend to give me a headache).

 Of course, we know the sun is a good thing. It provides light and warmth. Without the sun, crops wouldn’t grow and we’d spend a lot more money on light bulbs and tanning salons. Sun = good.

 But rain is a good thing too (except for my fellow migraine sufferers). In the first century, good drinking water was a precious commodity. Droughts were deadly—for livestock and people. Too often we 21st century Americans take for granted the value of water. (Lack of clean drinking water is still a problem, by the way.  According to the World Health Organization, 780 million people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water.) Knowing the value of rain, the first century hearers of Jesus would have smiled as He spoke of it raining on the righteous and the unrighteous and may have even yelled out, “Preach it, Jesus. We are blessed by God when it rains.” Rain = good.

Jesus wasn’t addressing why bad things happen to good people or bad people— He was making a statement that good things are from God. (Does that make sense?) The context of the rain and sun passage is “Loving our enemies.” Jesus’ point was that He loves everybody— even the dirty, rotten, unrighteous folks. He still sends good things their way— rain and sun. So we are to love like He loves— sending good things even to those who don’t deserve it.  

 What does that have to do with my migraine?

 I think it helps me to understand my situation just a little bit better.

I do not know why I continue to have migraines. I wish I didn’t have them. (Just yesterday I received my quarterly injections, to which my doctor informed me I receive more Botox than any of his other patients. That’s not a record I’m particularly proud of having. If I never had another shot in my head, I would be OK with that new reality.)

When it’s rainy, or when I eat the wrong food or don’t get enough sleep, or when I don’t exercise or stumble across some other trigger, or when the Botox is wearing off— I get a migraine? Why? I don’t know.

 This is what I do know— God is the giver of good things (not bad). He gives me the strength to overcome. He gives me the wherewithal to endure. He gives me the hope that this headache is not the end. He is the reason that I am able to do what I can do. In other words, He is my solution— not part of the problem.

It’s true for you too. Whatever situation you face (everyone has something, mine happens to be migraines), know God is the solution. He is not the problem. Call to Him. Remember He is our Hope and whatever it is that you are going through will not have the last word. Jesus is the Victor, Healer and Maker of all things new. That trial you are facing is not the end story. God is the Great Provider. James said He provides “good and perfect gifts.” So trust that He will provide you everything you need to face the situations of your life with grace and peace!


God > than your situations!