Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Dealing with Drought

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Dealing with Drought

Article excerpt

Living in the Southwest for over 25 years has given me a lot of exposure to weather extremes. It's not unusual to experience high winds and dust, tornadoes, flooding, heat waves, a string of ten 100- degree days, and, in the past four years, a severe drought.

This drought has felt like the textbook example of the dust bowl days of the 1920s. Cattle are starving, agriculture is suffering, and the economy is languishing. It gives one a lot of opportunity to think about weather patterns, jet streams, and water. It's definitely on most people's prayer-list.

Because I know that God is a good God and only blesses His creation, I also know that this lack is not "God's will." And I can't give much credit to the notion that chance is the cause either. While many would say that an adjustment in the jet stream is necessary for rain, this is still an effect rather than a cause.

My prayer has unfolded to me that simply finding a cause for this lack of rainfall is not enough. We have to look deeper into God's care for His creation and prayerfully understand that an all-good God brings forth all good, and this abundant good will be naturally felt in whatever way meets our needs. That would include balanced amounts of rain to nourish and water the earth.

The Bible story of Elijah praying to break a three-year drought (see I Kings 18:41-45) can open thought to the possibility of rain not being caused merely by material elements, but can be an effect of expecting to see God's goodness here and now. The book of First Kings teaches us that Elijah prayed to break the drought, and he put King Ahab on a watch for rain. At one point Elijah instructed Ahab, "Go up now, look toward the sea," but Ahab said, "There is nothing." Ahab was instructed to do this seven times. And all the while Elijah was praying, Ahab was looking and expecting. …

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