Don’t sit around with a sorrowful frown,
And wait for the storm to refrain.
You poor hurting dear, get up off your rear.
Go out there and dance in the rain.

The water that drenches, cleans out our trenches,
Washing the old down the drain.
So sing with the flowers, enjoying the showers.
Get up and go dance in the rain.

Watching and hoping, while silently moping,
Will not make the sun shine again.
So move with the beat of the rain at your feet.
As you learn how to dance in the rain.

It’s flooding the yard, but don’t take it hard.
The stress will just drive you insane.
Try it and see how much fun it can be,
Dancing around in the rain.

By Marie Morrow
Sometimes the fiery trials of life seem to go on for soooo long. We are tempted to wonder, “Is there an end to this? Why does the fire have to be so hot? Why is it that when things have just started to cool off, I find myself back in the fire – hotter than ever?”  While I was in the heat myself it was difficult for me to see it. But now that I have come out of it, I can see what the fire was all about. We were being baked in God’s oven.

        Jeremiah tells an interesting story. 

 1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : 2 "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message."
3 So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand. (Jeremiah 18:1-6 NIV)

        We refer to this as the breaking and remaking process that God often allows us to go through to shape us into the man or woman that we are destined to be. O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (Romans 9:20)

        To take this illustration a step further, let’s look more closely at how pottery is made. First the object is shaped, and possibly re-shaped. Then, before it can be of any real use, it must go into the oven.

        Firing is the process of heating ceramic wares at high-temperatures to make their shape permanent. Earthen pottery must be baked at temperatures between 1,000 – 1,200 degrees Celsius. That’s really hot. Beautiful porcelain must be fired at even higher temperatures than earthenware or stoneware. Then it is coated with glaze and sent for a second firing at a temperature of about 1,300 degrees Celsius, or greater. This process is what gives porcelain its strength and beauty.

        This concept recently came to me when I was praying for a brother of mine and his wife who were going through a particularly difficult time that did not seem to be letting up. I prayed, “Lord, why are these battles so long?” He replied, “They are baking in the oven.” It was clear to me what He was talking about. The oven is a tool needed for a specific purpose, a set temperature, and a designated amount of time. When something goes into the oven, whether it’s a beautiful vase or a birthday cake, it comes out completed.

        Understanding this principle is important in helping us to endure the fiery trials of life. 1 Peter 4:12 tells us, Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you. To give you a simple play on words, Jesus said that if we stay faithful to the end, He will tell us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” So if you feel that you’re still in the heat of the fire, be patient. God’s not done cooking you yet. He wants you ‘well done’. 

What is the point in all this suffering? I sometimes found myself asking. Surely this wasn’t supposed to happen. Where did I go wrong? Can anything good come out of the mess that is my life? When I was stuck in the middle of it, surrounded by confusion and pain, it didn’t seem to make any sense at all. But little by little, as the broken pieces of my life came together, I saw that out of this mess God was making a masterpiece, worked together with love and care.

     When I was a child I remember walking along the paths of the local sports center. I used to laugh and point at their pitiful bushes lining the walkways. Purchased at the same time as ours, from the same nursery, theirs were small and bare, never growing over two feet tall. Yet our bushes grew huge and plush, with beautiful shades of green and purple. If we did not trim them regularly they would be well over our heads and fully overgrow the walking paths.

Amused at their bewildered gardener, I knew the secret. We had many animals on our little village farm, animals which produced endless amounts of foul smelling ‘muck’. The muck was removed from the pens every day and collected in wicker baskets at the far end of the farm. Then every so often we would have what we called a ‘muck-out’.

     All the baskets were loaded onto a wagon pulled by our stubborn donkey and hauled to a nearby field, where a very large pit served as a compost heap. There it had to be unloaded before returning for another load.  The muck-out was a hard and dirty job, taking many hours of work. The baskets often split open. One time the whole donkey cart tipped over spilling its smelly load. Yet those are fun memories for me, as I enjoyed the rare occasion of being able to help my brothers with the dirty work.

It’s hard to imagine that such gross and messy muck could become the rich, life giving compost which was the secret to our beautiful gardens. Eventually others wanted to purchase our fertilizer, and the local plant nursery would give us free plants in exchange for it.

I look at my life now, as full and vibrant in growth and color as those beautiful bushes of my youth, and I smile again because I know the secret. The pains and hardships have been as abundant as the muck at a muck-out. We wonder how anything good could come from such a mess. Yet give it some time and a change takes place. Smelly muck turns into rich fertilizer, changing the small seedlings of our lives into a plush and beautiful garden.