What happens to a church in a farming town when it suffers the worst drought in recorded history? Many things, most of them painful and depressing. Farmers who have been on the land for generations leave the land—and thus the church. People start to tighten their belts and hold on to their gifts and tithes. Local connections of coffee and lunch dry up and small irritations suddenly become major points or relational conflict. Crying increases. Family relations become more strained than normal. The energy required to get through the week suddenly seems immense. Emotional exhaustion becomes the norm.
Farmers who have been on the land for generations leave the land … The energy required to get through the week suddenly seems immense
Yet there are also blessings for the church in such dire circumstances. People see Sunday mornings as a haven—not just a moral obligation, good idea, or a time to catch up on news. There is a desperate desire for encouragement from God; a search for hope—as if it were gold hidden buried in a parched dead field.
God if you will not send rain now, what will you send your people?
God’s word offers us hope. Peter speaking in Solomon’s Portico (Acts 3:11-26) speaks of repentance and waiting; waiting until Christ returns when all things will be restored.
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago (Acts 3:19-21).
Rain, like all life, is a grace from God. It’s like the original grace we left behind in the Garden of Eden, (Genesis 3) when we listened to the voice of the serpent. But, now God gives us new grace; calls us to turn back to him and receive that grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. How wonderful it is to repent!
And as we repent we also wait for still more grace—for Jesus who will come again and restore all things.
We may not get rain tomorrow and even if we do it might not be enough to break the drought. But when Jesus returns the drought will be broken. The planet will be healed, never to caused pain again. Paradise is coming. Let us turn and wait knowing that it is not if it will come but when it will.
Father the pain of the broken world is all around us. We see it every day and feel it moment by moment. We acknowledge that we have caused this pain by turning from you. We now seek to turn back to you. Help us as we seek to draw near to you and help us to be patient as we wait for your Son to make the world right again. Amen.