I was confused for a while Tuesday night (not that this itself is unusual) as the start of the Tiger game was delayed by rain.  The weather on our deck was beautiful, and there was no rain in the evening forecast – how could it be raining in downtown Detroit?   It was then that I realized the game was to be played in Pittsburg, not Detroit.  Sunshine here – rain there!
The confusion reappeared the following morning as I drove down I-94 in brilliant sunshine.  The forecasters kept talking about rain (yes, for metro Detroit, not Pittsburg) coming in the afternoon, but at noon the weather was still beautiful.  This time I checked the weather app on my iPad, and it read, “Sunny morning, rain possible after 7:00 p.m.”  Sunshine now – rain then!
The rain moved out of Pittsburg, and the Tigers, after starting late, played a complete game – and even held on to win.  They won again on Wednesday afternoon.  My drive home on I-94 after the game was as dry as the drive in.  Later, a little after 7:00 p.m., a gentle rain came.  Sunshine, then rain.
That, I believe, is also the forecast for our lives.  We will experience sunshine some days. We will experience rain on others.  We know that sunny days will be followed by rainy ones, and that rainy days will be followed by sunshine.  If this is the case, we may as well enjoy each for what they are, and not be stymied in one by anticipation of the other.
The writer of Ecclesiastes puts it this way: In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.  Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.  So, if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many.  All that comes is but a vapor” – that is, it can go away as quickly as it came. (Ecclesiastes 11.6-8) Sunshine, then rain.
Commentator James Bollhagen (Concordia Commentary: Ecclesiastes.  CPH. p. 380) summarizes the wisdom found in all twelve chapters by stating, “In summary, the life of wisdom involves holding back and going ahead, being pessimistic and being optimistic, being cautious and throwing caution to the winds, being prepared for anything in the future and actively preparing oneself for the future, which will include death (unless the Lord returns first).  In each case, pray, meditate on God’s Word, consult wise counselors, and then take the most prudent action.  But as you choose, remember also that human judgment is impaired by our inherited original sin and the deceptions of the devil.  What looks like a time for hasty retreat may wind up being a blown opportunity for victory and what appears to be an ‘all systems go’ situation may turn out to be a recipe for disaster.  When all is said and done, the reader’s head is left spinning just as Solomon’s was.  In every moment the truth, the fear of God, with steadfast faith in the eternal salvation, is the only way to go.”

Or, as Luther puts it, “We see, therefore, that in this whole book Solomon is teaching how to use the things that are in the present and is arming us beforehand against future dangers and calamities, so that when they do come, we accept them as a matter of course.” (LW 15, 174)

Is it sunshine, then rain, or rain, then sunshine?  The answer, of course, is yes … and more.  The total answer is, “Yes, but who cares?”  And the answer to the follow-up question is, “No-one should, but many do.”
If we hold back during the sunny days because we know that the rain will come (eventually), we are ignoring and wasting the sunshine God has sent our way.  Or, put another way, if every time good things start happening in our lives, instead of enjoying them and thanking God for them, we keep watching the horizon for the black clouds in anticipation of the other shoe to drop … we are literally slapping God in the face – insulting him … which is tantamount to saying, “God, take away the good stuff and let me suffer more.”
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice” (Philippians 4.4) means that when the forecast is sunny, then rain, we will rejoice while the sun shines AND when the rain falls.  And, before anyone says, “But, I don’t deserve the sunshine,” remember that NO-ONE does!  Every sunny day is a gift of God’s grace to EVERYONE … so everyone should be thankful as they enjoy every bit of the sunny grace.  And, in regard to the rain, while we deserve more of a hurricane than a gentle rain like last night, God in his grace even uses all the rain to bless us … and so Philippians 4.4 justly applies always, no matter the weather.

Oh, and by the way, that rain stopped before dawn.  The sky was actually clear at 5:00 a.m. before some new clouds rolled in. And it is to be mostly sunny by 9:00 a.m.  So, maybe I had it backwards and it should be rain, then sunshine … or, more likely, I am still more than a little confused as this goes out at 8:15 a.m.

Sunshine, then Rain