No one wants a drought, but here in northeast Ohio it seems like we always get more than our fair share of moisture and overcast skies.

My wife and I went for a walk today, and the trees are now bare and winter is peeking around the corner. The leaves have all fallen and lie crinkled and brown on the ground. As I look at them I feel like they could have done better. Usually October brings out the very best in our leaves here in Ohio. The beauty of the Cuyahoga Valley can rival anywhere in the world for a few glorious weeks in October. But not this year. This year the colors were muted, and before I could even get a good photo Autumn had come to an end, and now winter is preparing to blow in with a vengeance.

I looked up what makes leaves turn colors, and after all the talk about the chemical process and chlorophyll I ended up at moisture. It seems that we need rain in the late summer in order to have a breathtaking Fall. We had a sunny but dry August and so we had a subpar October.

In my life I find I seldom want rain. I want days full of laughter and goodness and ease. But I need some rain. I need some days where clouds of discomfort and struggle roll in and even storms cause tears to fall like rain.

Scripture reminds me that sorrow lasts for a night, but joy comes in the morning. I’ve seen it in some of my favorite people. These are friends who have gone through storms, and there is a vibrancy of color that flows from their lives. If compassion and patience and joy had color, then these friends are trees exploding in the midst of a glorious Autumn.

Sometimes rain is the only way to get the leaves to be at their best. Sometimes it’s the storms of life that bring out the very best in human beings.

You may be enjoying long lazy sunny days. Enjoy them. But if you are in a storm then know that the rain that feels like it will never stop falling can lead to rich and wonderful beauty in you that can come no other way. Like Ohio you may rival the beauty of anywhere and anyone, but it’s the rain and the tears that have made it so.