Some Pastoral thoughts on the “drought” we are in.
As you know we are in a heat wave and drought conditions that have not been seen here in recent times in Southern Illinois. While certainly not unprecedented or unique to our area, it presents many economic and, I would contend, faith challenges for the Christian.
First, what is God doing? It may be fashionable in our day and age to “leave God out of it”. Merely strike the events to “natural” patterns that strike all areas of the earth at certain times in history. Yet, we are Christians, and we believe, teach and confess that our God is the God of nature (a nature which is fallen and cries out for divine rescue (Genesis 3:17-19, Romans 8:19-21), but also a nature that even in its fallen state praises the Lord (Psalm 148). With this in mind we cannot say that God has somehow “separated” himself from this drought. Even if, the people claiming to speak for God today would say that our sins have nothing to do with drought, I’m not sure the faithful would believe it. God’s goal is to bring humanity to repentance (realize the temporary nature of all things this side of heaven), and faith in the Savior who is the way, the truth, and the life. In God’s wisdom this may happen more frequently against the backdrop of drought/suffering etc, than in time of plenty. God uses all sorts of wake up calls in life to bring the gift of repentance to his people, and this may be one of those times.
What we cannot say “for sure” is that this drought is because of some sort of specific sin. For example, the lack of prayer in schools, the sad reality of abortion in our land, the boastful neighbor who holds “his wealth” over everyone else. Now grant you the above sins of our nation and individuals may be part of it, but we are never sure. What we are sure of is the need for repentance of all sin, and the need for Jesus Christ.
Now having said the above, let me also says this. The Bible says the rain falls on the “just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45) , that is the general blessings of God (food, water, health, etc) are on believers and unbelievers alike. So also believers and unbelievers experience drought together. Outside of the plagues where certain plagues only fell on the Egyptians, for the most part calamities impact believer and unbeliever alike. Yes, these calamities lead us to repentance, but sometimes they happen simply because we live in a world that is fallen, and no specific sinful cause can be given (See the book of Job). However, while we believe natural calamities can lead us to repentance, God also can and does work through them to “provide for his people”. For example, Joseph would have never gone to Egypt if it were not for a drought . Romans 8:28 says “God works all things for good to those who love him and have been called according to his purpose”. God takes even “the bad” and uses it for the good of his people.
In the mean time we wait. “ The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:24) For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does into willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.” (Lamentations 3:33). We wait knowing that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” Romans 8:18.
My prayers and the prayers of this congregation are with all who are impacted by this drought. I pray the above is helpful, and know that your Savior will “Watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (Psalm 121:8) .
[This letter was written by Pastor Stephen Krenz of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hoffman, IL. It is posted here with his permission.]