April Showers
by David M. McNabb

True to form, April 2000 has provided, at least in the Northeast, an abundance of rain. Many are leery of the cloudy, balmy, wet days, but we are reminded that "April showers bring May flowers."

Like it or not, the rain will come. The sweet nectar from the skies causes the earth to be refreshed. The grass grows green, the gardens flourish, and flowers begin to brighten our surroundings. All of this would be impossible without precipitation.

But the rain is also indiscriminate. It falls on man and woman, black and white, rich and poor, sinner and believer. A perfect lawn is not necessarily an indication that the owner is someone who loves and serves God.

Jesus told us to love our enemies, as well as our friends. In explanation, He said, "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:45,48)

Even as we are to do good to them that hate us, God lets good things happen to those who live contrary to Him. They often have healthy children, well-paying jobs, nice houses and cars, longevity, friends, trusting and faithful spouses, and many of the things that we God-fearing folks have. Sometimes, the only apparent difference is that we acknowledge, rightly, that these things are blessings from our loving Father, and they attribute it to "luck" or "skill."

Frequently, the unbeliever is merely a beneficiary of circumstance, but many times their situation is a result of Godís favor towards His children. As He told Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Gen. 22:18) The United States of America is one shining example of how an entire nation can benefit from the righteousness of Godís people.

But this shared blessing has, at the same time, become a stumbling block to many. Numerous unbelievers have said, "Why should I become a Christian? They are no better off than me. My life is good and I am good to others. Whatís the difference? I just donít go to church."

True. Many sinners are seemingly better off than those who are born again. But just because its raining at the zoo, it doesnít mean that the animals there are free.

A Christian could become discouraged, noting the benefits that the unjust seem to have. Hence the admonition of Paul, "Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Gal. 6:7-9)

Let us, therefore be confident, that we are way ahead of those who believe not the Gospel. We, having planted a much richer garden, will reap a richer harvest Ė no matter how much rain their garden shall receive.