I was out cutting grass this evening and I was thinking about all the rain we have had here in the upstate so far this year. One thought I had while cutting grass was how this time last year we were in a drought that had been affecting the area for the past ten years. Then I began to think about when I was 14 or 15 that we had been in a drought that was so sever in the south east that farmers out west were sending hay to the upstate of South Carolina so people could keep their livestock feed. I can remember working in the back of a tractor trailer and it being100 degrees outside dragging square hay bales out and loading them in pick-up trucks. I remember churches and individuals all around the country praying for rain like they did during the dustbowl era.
I than had a thought about Elijah and how he had prayed and the rain stopped for 3 ½ years. (1 Kings 17:1)
1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand; there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” (ESV)
Then how he prayed for the rain to return (1 Kings 18:45).
41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. 43 And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’ ” 45 And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. (ESV)
Do you ever wonder if they were prepared for the rain? After ten years of drought conditions here at home; we were overwhelmed with the amount of water that came in the past eight months. The ground soaked up as much as it could and the water began to pool and run; the creeks overflowed and it took out bridges and roads, it left a path of destruction everywhere. The truth is water is the most powerful force in nature it controls life and death it can teardown mountains and build up islands only to tear them down later. We have seen the destructive power of water through the devastation of hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy. So I still wonder if they were prepared for the rain.
In scripture we see rain in two contexts in the Old Testament. The term mâtar which can mean rain in the physical or metaphorical sense. It is either a blessing or a curse depending on the context of the scripture; to much rain is destructive while the right amount allows life to prosper. As I thought about this one of the things I have heard most of my Christian walk has been that if we praise God he will rain blessings down on us.
The question I am asking myself tonight though is how prepared are we for those blessings (the rain)? Are we praying for something and feel as if we are in a drought? We ask God to deliver us from certain situations and bless us with certain things. However, when we get them do we know what to do with them? There is a story I was told several years ago about an evangelist during the years of the dust bowl that was preaching a revival. The major issue at the time was prayer for rain. One night as they were preparing for the revival to start people were coming in and on the front row a young girl came in and sat down in her hand she held a red umbrella. The evangelist realized that she was the only one present who had one. He asked the people during the message if they were ready for it to rain. They all said they were, However, She was the only one who came prepared for God to answer her prayers. Are you prepared for rain to come into your life either as blessings or destructive? Tonight keep your umbrella handy and be prepared for God’s rain to come into your life as you walk in the light of God’s Word.