In a Dry and Thirsty Land

This is a guest post by my friend and fellow writer Patti Richter who also lives in my town. We’ve experienced an extreme heat wave and drought this summer, so I really appreciate her words of wisdom here.

So this is a drought. Many of us have never really seen one. We’ve seen images of drought in world news and in magazines from relief organizations. It’s not life-threatening here in Texas, except to livestock and poor creatures of the field. But even so, it’s drought. Add a heat wave—minus the wave, it’s all heat.

The burning heat and cracked, shriveling ground make us feel a bit forsaken, like those whom God remembers no more (Psalm 88:5). We think we must be off God’s radar.

If we believe what we so commonly hear, we can blame Mother Nature. She’s troubled, or bent out of shape for some reason. It’s all her fault. If we believe in Mother Nature, that is.

I don’t recall hearing so much about Mother Nature years ago. Tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters used to be called “acts of God” or “acts of Divine Providence.” Maybe we decided it wasn’t good to ascribe destructive works to God. So we took him out of the picture altogether. We decided to give Mother Nature all the blame for bad weather and all the credit for bountiful days.

I say we cast down the idol. Mother Nature can’t speak or hear. There is no Mother Nature. We should direct our appreciation or fear of the elements to God alone, the Creator of all things. Nature serves him in our behalf. Through nature, he blesses us or withholds blessing.

Jesus says that our Father in heaven “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). The opposite is likely true as well. For better or for worse, sheep and goats share the same territory. Meanwhile, drought and heat continuing, it’s beginning to feel like Texas is a test site for Revelation 16, where the angels are pouring out bowls of wrath—one of which is scorching heat.

God knows his business, even though I don’t see lost sinners repenting because of the prevailing bad conditions. But the hot and thirsty landscape can bring up the dross in me. I begin to complain. I languish along with the trees and my perspective droops.

Lost sinners might not repent, but I do. So I’ll praise God for water that still gushes out of faucets in the midst of drought. I’ll thank him for air conditioning, ice cubes and a yet unfailing power grid.

The earth is his, to do with as he pleases. I take him to be my God, in green pastures and in drought.

Patti Richter, a freelance Christian journalist, has written hundreds of published articles—features, profiles, news stories, essays and reviews. Her other vocations include children’s ministry teaching and mentoring youth. In both writing and serving, her goal is to tell of God’s goodness through Christ.  She and her husband, Jim, live in Heath, Texas.

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