Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pray for Rain

In my research for sermon on 1 Kings 18:17-39, I discovered an article from Jewish Heritage Online Magazine. The beginning of the article makes much about Israel being a land that is fed by rainwater rather than river water.
Rainfall is a symbol of divine providence. Furthermore, according to the biblical stories, in the great riverine countries a nation's sense of ownership of its land and mastery of its destiny is reinforced, leading to the development of tyrannical regimes and slavery. In land that drink rainwater, on the other hand, man constantly senses his dependence on God and for that reason such a land will sustain a regime of justice, free of subjugation.
Whether ancient Israel was a regime of justice is probably an open question. The Old Testament prophets certainly had their doubts. In the aforementioned passage, Elijah calls the people of Israel to faithfulness and repentance after worshipping the idols of Ba'al. After God embarrasses the prophets of Ba'al on Mount Carmel and the people return to faith, the long drought ends.

Still, there may be some truth to the claim. By this description of places that drink rainwater, the Texas plains must be a land that "will sustain a regime of justice, free of subjugation." Perhaps, we are. Being dependent on God, we certainly are suspicious of those who wish to usurp our freedom. Recognizing the sovereignty of God we, Texans, certainly have a transcendent understanding of justice.

Still, we are tired of our current drought. There may even be some who are willing to give up a bit of that freedom if it would bring some rain. This is one of the driest seasons on record for Wilbarger County, Texas. In the midst of a difficult drought, we've learned our lessons well. Many of us are crying, "Okay God, we've got it. We are ready to move on now."

So we pray for rain. Some may have read about officials in the city of Lubbock calling for a day of prayer and fasting. I was a little surprised to see the story highlighted on the Drudge Report. If I had to guess why Matt Drudge thought the story worthy to link was probably surprise that those quaint Red Staters pray for rain or maybe that the drought is so bad that people are praying in desparation. Either way, the coverage has had another effect. Christians and a few non-Christians from all over the country are now praying for us.

I understand that God is mysterious and beyond our control. That may give little comfort as crops fail and cattle must be sold. Still, we remember the times of blessing. We remember God's faithfulness and his promises to us. We remind each other of these things, and yes, we even remind God.

Lord, please send us rain.

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