In the last several years, the United States has suffered drought conditions, and Texas has been no exception. Six months ago, the primary water source for much of North Texas, Lake Lavon, was a mere 47.2% full resulting in extremely tight watering restrictions, as well as dying crops, and brittle ground. The land was thirsty and in desperate need of rain.
In other news, we have witnessed heinous acts of terror all over the globe, religious extremist groups committing gruesome crimes, human rights violations, tragic airplane accidents, and the ugly facts of pornography and sex trafficking. The land is thirsty and in desperate need of rain.
Throughout the Bible we find Scriptures that connect literal and spiritual rain as God often warned that He would close up the heavens if sinfulness continued. While we no longer live in an Old Testament covenant, I can’t help but wonder if the very earth itself responds to sin in a negative way. We are told that “all creation groans for the sons of God to be revealed” (Romans 8:21, 22).
We are also reminded in the book of James that “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:17, 18).
Six months ago a few women and I started a corporate prayer call. One night every week we call a free conference call number and pray together for thirty minutes over the most crucial needs in our Nation and world. The need for rain has been on our list every week.
We not only pray for literal rain, but spiritual rain as we recognize a direct correlation between the dryness in our souls and the dryness in our land. Now, only six months later, our primary water source for North Texas is full! Full! In the few months that we have been praying, the lake has doubled its level! Cynics would call this a coincidence, but we who know and understand the power of prayer know God has heard us and is answering.
Several times in the past few weeks when the rain poured and I needed to go out, I thought about complaining. After all, rain is messy and inconvenient. I restrained myself, however, instead remembering how desperately we needed the rain and that it was the tangible evidence of “prayer availing much” (James 5:16). When the rain continued, I decided I’d enjoy it more if I kept an umbrella in my car and wore the appropriate footwear (The perfect excuse for a new pair of shoes!). I ordered the cutest pair of cowboy style leopard print rubber boots which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed through this rainy season.
Even as I write, the rain is falling from the heavens, and the spiritual rain is falling as well. Though it may be more subtle, you can see the drops if you look closely. Rain is often synonymous with God’s presence which brings life to the barren lands of thirsty people.
David put it most poetically when he said, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1). Many of us can relate to the cry of David. We’ve all gone through dry seasons; but this long, dry season has worn out its welcome.
Our attempts to handle our spiritual drought through advancing careers, bigger houses, nicer cars, and fancier vacations have failed. The cracks in the ground are only growing wider. We are spiritually parched and in desperate need of the Living Water. Our world needs rain—His cleansing, refreshing, redeeming, reforming rain.
This past year, two people on separate occasions shared dreams they’d had with me. One had a dream of walking into a church sanctuary with a shower cap on as it began to rain inside the building. Another dreamt she was showering in the middle of a sanctuary while rain was falling all around. God speaks in dreams, and His message through these two dreams was loud and clear: “I’m sending My cleansing rain. I’m sending it right into the sanctuary.”
You see, many of us in the church are as parched as those outside the building. We say we are followers of Christ, yet our lives are dry and barren like those who don’t know Him. The rain will start with us.
We often forget the key phrase in 2 Chronicles 7:14 when God says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” He is listening for the cry of repentance from His people; He has heard and He will answer. As Elijah said in response to Israel’s repentance, “There is a sound of heavy rain” (I Kings 18:41).
As God continues to answer our prayers—prayers for literal and spiritual rain, among others, let us not forget our former desperation in the wake of inconvenience. Rain is messy. Repentance and revival are messy. But our land is thirsty and in desperate need of a drink.
I encourage you, dear reader, to keep praying. Don’t worry about the mess that may come, simply grab your rain boots and enjoy the new adventure! As Jesus Culture reminds us in the song Come Away, “It’s gonna be wild; it’s gonna be great; it’s gonna be full of Him!”
Scripture quotations taken from the NIV
Originally published in Living Magazine, LivingMagazine.net
tags: revival, repentance, cleansing, rain, spirituality