(Author’s Note: The coalition described below has been praying daily and God has dispersed the ridge and sent rain. However, the drought is far from over.)
Meteorologists say the worst drought in California history is caused by a high pressure ridge of air in the upper atmosphere that has hovered over the state for more than a year. The ridge deflects storms. Such ridges are natural phenomena when they coalesce for days or even weeks; to hover over the state for sixteen months – and counting – is simply not natural. It can only be called supernatural. And if it can only be called supernatural, it must be addressed in supernatural terms.
The Bible provides that address. In 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 God tells the Jewish People that whenever He shuts down the heavens so that no rains fall, they ought to “humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from your wicked ways.” His promise is to hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
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There are a couple of caveats before we proceed. One is that God is not vindictive, but He is a God who stops at nothing to get our attention – even shutting down the heavens. The other is that the Hebrew word “ra”, or “wicked”, means literally inadequate or dysfunctional. God is not judging us for inadequacy; as human beings, we are naturally inadequate. But the state of inadequacy becomes the sin of choosing dysfunctionality when we worship it, placing human efforts and understanding ahead of God.
California leads the nation in elective abortions – at a rate exceeding our share of national population; biblically, that is shedding innocent blood. California is a national leader in breaking all kinds of covenants, from the marriage covenant to holding Native American slaves in our early years to statewide officers refusing to enforce our laws and constitution; we are in denial of these things as a state. California hosts the pornography and sex trafficking industries as just two examples of the sexual sin that is rampant here. And California pays tribute to pagan deities by placing their statues in public buildings and worshipping them in some of our religious buildings; that is idolatry in Biblical parlance. In each case, we believe we are doing what must be done to cope with an inadequate world. We place our understanding above what God says in Scripture. That especially is idolatry – at its most subtle and most damaging.
These four categories of sin – if we believe the Bible – are adequate to literally pollute land and atmosphere. Most people believe human moral choices cannot impact the environment unless they literally target it, but we have already demonstrated that our drought is not of natural causation. I recommend believing the Bible – not just for explaining the problem, but for solving it as well.
The Rain and Reign Coalition is a gathering of approximately thirty-five extra-parochial (not limited to one denomination or congregation) ministries committed to praying for an end to California’s drought. We are committed to prayer for more than just relief. We pray for repentance – first and foremost for ourselves – and then in identification with our fellow Californians. We repent of the sins cited above and beg our God to release His blessing over our state – first in the restoration of relationship with Him that we Californians have stretched to the breaking point, and second by releasing the rain and snow we so desperately need in such a way that everyone will know it comes as a gift from Him. Those who think our prayers and repentance are silly need not join in. For those who see wisdom – if not logic – in prayer of this type, please add your voices to ours. We ask nothing more than that prayer be daily and heartfelt.
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On my recent ministry trip to Malaysia, I went out one evening with a small group of young adult leaders to do some stargazing. Heavy cloud cover hid all but a handful of stars. As we sang praise songs and enjoyed each other, one of us suggested we point our index fingers at the sky, count to three, and blow. When we did this, the clouds visibly moved. After the third repetition, the sky was cleared; and we watched with wonder the stars as we praised the Lord. And no – none of us is so foolish as to imagine our counting and blowing actually moved the clouds. But we do serve a God who loves to play with His children if we will just let Him draw near enough to take hold of us. He waits for California to get that message.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.