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TITLE: Even as the Rain Falls
By Samantha Arroyo

A flash of lightning lit up the sky, splitting it in two. A thunderous roar followed suit, shaking the horizon and cracking the dark and menacing heavens at the seams causing the clouds to pour forth a torrential rainfall. I stood beneath the canopy outside of the hotel entrance with my hands hanging limply by my sides as I observed the storm raging above me. Steam hovered over the tarred walkways and roads allowing the ground to breathe for the first time in days sending forth that balmy tropical scent to my senses. The earth was finally being relieved of the intense humidity that had wreaked havoc on the city of Orlando that entire week.

I searched beyond the curtain of rain droplets streaming from the eaves of the roof as I searched for our taxi. Our flight was scheduled to leave in approximately two hours and we were beginning to get pressed for time. As the storm intensified, my stress levels heightened. I continually glanced at the time, anticipating the vehicle's arrival, impatience beginning to take hold of my heart. He was already fifteen minutes late. Father God, please give me patience. I know You will provide us with a means of transportation to the airport. Please don't let us miss our flight, God. We need to get home. I need to get home. My heart and prayer may have lacked supernatural confidence, but there was nothing else that I could do. I crossed my arms over my chest and bounced my knee as I continued to wait impatiently. Our departure was exactly two hours from the current time.

As my confidence in my prayer began to drain, a cab sped around the corner sending up sheets of water and drove towards the entrance of the hotel. He stopped beneath the curtain of rain that was dripping from the eaves and rolled down his window calling up to the driver ahead of him, "I'm here to pick up a Really?"

"Reilly?" I shouted, raising my voice above the storm, yearning for confirmation.

"Yes. Reilly." He glanced at his information. "That must be it."

I raced back through the sliding doors to inform my mother that our cab had arrived. I returned to the canopy wheeling our cart of luggage, feeling the need to hurry things along as there was not much time. The driver's side door swung open and an African American man stepped forward. He was young. "Stay right there, ma'am," he called to me over the thunder. "This gentleman in front of me is about to move, and then I'll pull forward so you ladies don't get wet."

I nodded, surprised and grateful for his consideration, something that wasn't common amongst taxi drivers. He returned to his vehicle and moved the cab forward and then exited to help us with our luggage. He popped the trunk and then moved around back and assisted me with the heavy cart that I couldn't seem to manage on my own.

"Careful!" my mother warned as the young man reached for the first bag. "They are full of books and are awfully heavy." The gentleman didn't flinch, and began to lift the first bag. A surprised expression suddenly colored his features.

"You weren't kidding ma'am." He laughed light heartedly.

I laughed. "Don't worry," I said smiling, "now you won't have to go to the gym today."

"Ma'am, I won't have to go to the gym for a week! This is quite the work out." We shared friendly banter and once our luggage was stowed safely away, we folded our bodies into the cab. I sank comfortably into my seat, ignoring the cool dampness beneath my feet on the floor of the vehicle. I leaned my head back and closed my eyes for just a moment as I listened to the rain patter against the windshield and stream in rivers along the passenger window. I was exhausted.

Through the silence, came a voice from up front. "Would you ladies like to listen to some music?" the driver inquired of us.

I glanced at my mother sitting beside me. She shrugged her shoulders, "Sure," she responded for us both.

"What would you like to listen to? I always listen to the Christian radio station, but I'd be happy to play whatever you'd like."

I was only half listening, my eyes still drifting closed, but suddenly it registered what he had just said. My mother and I looked at each other simultaneously. "The Christian station?" she asked, inquisitively. He nodded. "That would be wonderful. We just came from the Christian Retailers Convention."

He stole a glance in the rearview mirror. "Oh really?" he said with a smile, "so that's the reason for all the books." He turned up the volume and worship music flooded the cab.

I stared in shock at the seat in front of me. What were the chances? My mother wasted no time asking questions and expressing her enthusiasm in meeting a fellow Christian. "This is so cool!" she exclaimed. "Sometimes it's encouraging to know that you aren't the only one out there, you know?"

"Absolutely," he said in agreement.

God carried our entire conversation. We discussed how good God truly was and how blessed we are to know Him and how He has worked in our lives. Our driver reached beside him towards the front seat. He held up a black, leather bound book with the words Holy Bible etched in gold across the cover. "I carry this with me everywhere. Every drive. Every day." A smile creased his face and his face glowed with confidence. "You know, I just listen to this music and I worship God while I drive. It's the best worship time, because you are alone and can focus on the words in the song. Sometimes people will look over me, but I don't care, man! I've got Jesus! They look at me wondering how I could be acting the way I am, but I look at them asking the same thing—how can they not be acting this way?"

I was stunned. How typical that towards the end of a trip filled with God and renewal in Christ, I would allow stress and impatience to rise up within me, quickly allowing myself to forget the purpose for why I was there. I allowed the storms of life to take precedence over the miraculous work that God was doing in Orlando.

I sat back in my seat and allowed the worship music to pour over me. Amidst the torrential rainstorm and the intense rumbling, there was solitude and life within the confines of that cab.

It's similar to the world we live in. We are surrounded by dark and treacherous clouds, the heavens are ripping at the seams, and the thunder and lightning snaps loudly to intimidate our foundation in Christ Jesus. But if I remain like Jack, our driver, and I worship when the entire world condemns me, I will not be shaken. My foundation will not crack. My faith will increase. And my confidence in Christ will be renewed daily.

It just took a summer storm, a taxi cab, and a young man to remind me of all that I can have, even as the rain falls.
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