I wrote this a week ago, when rain was just a whispered hope and smoke hung thick in the air. Today it is raining heavily. Yet my heart prayer is still the same.
It seems the south is on fire.
We are at nearly 50 days without a drop of rain. This is very abnormal, especially in autumn. At last count there were over 50,000 acres in North Carolina alone consumed by wildfires.
It’s hard not to sense spiritual forces working when you experience weather and natural events that are so bizarre, so alien for this part of the country, especially when paired with the volatile election season we have endured. Divine judgement? Sin run amuck? I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to presume I understand the workings of our omniscient and omnipotent, holy and just, merciful and loving God. And sometimes crappy things happen because we live in a fallen and broken world managed by one who seeks to destroy.
Here’s where I’ve landed. I have been crying to God for rain, for relief from the fires. And every, every time I pray that prayer my heart responds by reminding me we need an outpouring of God more than we need a single drop of rain. We need the Spirit to fall upon us. Our lives, our culture, our communities, our churches are dry and parched and wasting away. We consume each other with words intended to wound, with violence and hatred and racism and selfishness. We trample the poor and oppressed and wounded and fatherless because we are too busy to care for them. Because serving them would put our comfortable, safe, predictable, normal lives in jeopardy. We villainize anyone who looks or lives or believes differently than us because hating them is a lot easier than wading through the swamp of things that keep us apart to show kindness or grace.
I know of so many people in the trenches, loving their neighbors in radical and un-glamorous ways. Men and women and families who dive into the mess, who listen to the broken and lonely, who serve and serve and serve and count it all joy. We need more of that. More people willing to say to God: whatever. Whatever you say, Lord, I will do. Wherever you lead, Jesus, I will go.
But more than more people serving – we need God’s Spirit poured out on us in a radical, life-changing, life-giving way. Oh, Jesus, we need you. May we recognize and confess our sins, both personal and corporate. Oh, Spirit, change how we see and what we seek. Break our hearts for what breaks Yours.
Rain down on us.