Monday, February 3, 2014

Pray for Rain in California

I’m very concerned about the water situation in California. I don’t know if you’ve been following the news, but there’s been very little rain in that state for the past several years. As a result, the water situation is getting desperate. Reservoirs are practically empty and agriculture is beginning to suffer. Some areas are going to literally run out of water. What do you do when that happens?

This is shaping up to be a crisis of major proportions, not just for the residents of California but the whole nation. So please pray for rain (and a lot of snow in the Sierras). Let me explain why this could be a crisis of biblical proportions:

(1) I can envision a reverse Okie migration. During the Dust Bowl (no, it’s not a football game) of the 1930s, thousands of people from Oklahoma (Okies) and neighboring states fled their homes and migrated to the Land of Promise, sunny California. In a worst case scenario, I could see millions of people (not just farmers) leaving California because life became intolerable or even impossible due to the lack of water and the fires.

(2) California, our most populous state, has a large economy. I believe it is something like the fifth largest economy in the world. A large part of that economy is agriculture. That state grows everything from avocados to lettuce, from grapes to oranges. If California agricultural production is shut down due to a lack of water, it will affect the rest of the country’s supply of food. Prices of many food items will skyrocket, so that certain items will be nearly impossible to buy because of either price or supply. Think of the millions of gallons of wine produced by that state. Supply would be met by other sources but at a much higher price than we’re used to paying.

(3) California’s large economy also consists of manufacturing, high tech, and tourism. If California’s industry is hindered by lack of water, there will be massive unemployment and possibly shortages of certain goods in the rest of the country.

(4) With all this dryness comes fires. Not only will there be more wildfires than usual (which is already happening), but some fires in cities won’t be able to be extinguished because of a lack of water pressure or constraints on its use.

(5) Based on what could happen as described above, there is the possibility of lawlessness, mayhem, and violence. You could have large numbers of unemployed people roaming the streets, robbing and possibly killing.

I hate to paint such a bleak and disturbing picture, but I think we have to be made aware of both the seriousness of this drought and the impact it could have on the rest of the country. The frustrating thing is that there’s nothing we can do to bring about rain. Or is there?

Yes, there is something we can do, and that is we can pray to the God who controls the weather. Remember how Jesus calmed the storm? Remember the words from the hymn “Here I Am, Lord”, which say, “I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry.”

God will hear your cry as well. As you pray to God, also keep in mind these two passages:

Thinking of our nation and California in particular, pray this verse back to God:
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord…”
Jeremiah 29:11-14a, NRSV

Thinking of our nation and California in particular, pray this verse several times a day, emphasizing “seek my face” and “forgive their sin and heal their land.”
“[I]f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV

I’m not saying this drought is God’s punishment for our turning away from him – although it could be – but what I’m saying is that we as a nation need to be cleansed with the life-giving spiritual water from God even more than we need rain.