Dec 22 2010


RS-rain-1I was just in Costa Rica, photographing in the rainforest earlier this month. Then when I got home to Southern California, I felt like the rains had followed me home. It has been raining steadily here and it is wet, wet, wet.

The first thing that often comes to mind from the Bible about rainy days is the 40 days of rain and the story of Noah and the arc. That certainly represents a destructive rain, and some of the rain here in Southern California is destructive.

RS-rain-2But without a lot of rain, the rainforest would not exist. As you go up in altitude, the rainforest becomes the cloud forest, a place where you are often in the clouds. While the lowland rainforests of Costa Rica are in flatlands, much of Costa Rica is mountainous from an active volcano range and altitudes can go to 8,000 feet and more.

Even in “sunny” Southern California, rain is important. This is our rainy season. Plants are adapted to getting a lot of rain in the winter, then going without water for the rest of the year.

Both adaptations are pretty remarkable, I think, and showcase how amazing God’s creation is. The rainforest (and cloud forest) is adapted to a lot of rain throughout the year and responds with dense green jungle-like forest that includes an incredible amount of diversity in plants and animals. There can be hundreds of different species of trees in a single acre of rainforest.

Southern California, on the other hand, includes the chaparral, a distinct ecosystem like the rainforest is an ecosystem. The chaparral is adapted to wet winters and dry conditions the rest of the year. One thing you quickly notice is how large the leaves are in the rainforest where water is abundant and there is no cost to leaves losing water, and how small the leaves are in the chaparral, where there is a huge cost to losing water. And, like the rainforest, the chaparral would not exist without its rain pattern.

The Bible does give us a lot of references to the importance of rain. Psalm 147:8 — “He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.” Paul even talks about “appropriate” rain, rain that falls at the right times for the land, Acts 14:17 — “He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons.”

RS-rain-3There is no question that people love sunshine. That is one reason that Southern California and the Southwest have exploded in population. Yet, rain is so important, too. It is good to give thanks for rain and all that it does for nature, recognizing that rain systems sometimes cause problems for people. I would pray for the people who are hurt by too much rain, but I will always be thankful for the rain.

— Rob