Pastor's Pen

The first real rain for the second half of the year has fallen at last! People have been bemoaning the rain since last Sunday in a joking fashion, myself included, for the puddles it creates and getting wet as we race around outside. Under the cover of this mock complaint, we breathe an inward and outward sigh of relief. We say a silent "thanks" for the end of the dry times and season.

Elijah, an Old Testament prophet has been on my mind for a while in this context. He arrives on the scene in the history of God's people, the Israelites, at a time when there is little regard for God. Everyone in the nation has put their relationship with God on the back burner and many are not living an active life of faith. Elijah's first message on God's behalf is to tell the King of the times, Ahab by name, that God is going to cause a drought that will last for two or three years. (And we think a few months has been hard!) Having made this proclamation, God sends Elijah 'walkabout" and he is incommunicado for over two years. The 'kicker' is that Elijah is the only one with authority, in God's hearing, to break the drought. Read the history for yourself in 1 Kings 16:29 to the end of chapter 18.

When Elijah returns to public life, people are desperate as you can imagine. They need rain. Elijah shows that God is truly the one who can supply the people with their physical and more importantly, their spiritual needs as well. What started the drought in the first place was people looking for alternate religion (Idolatry). On this occasion, God demonstrates his people's inner condition by paralleling it in their physical circumstances.

I don't say that God has brought the dry times on our community. We are told in the words of Jesus himself, who is God, in Matthew 5: 45:

"God makes His sun to shine on the just and the unjust alike, and He gives rain to those who do what is good and what is evil."

God works with us in His mercy today because of Jesus' work on the cross for us. The reminder of a time of drought may still be useful to us today to
ask the questions:

  • Are we acknowledging that God is the giver of all good gifts?
  • Are we 'coasting' in our relationship with God, or allowing hurts within the community to spoil our personal worship life as we absent ourselves from regular worship?
  • Have we grown cold in our love for God and made other things or activities our modern day idols?

God has refreshed our locale with rain again, giving us cause to thank Him. The green that is returning to the countryside is a reminder of the life God desires us to experience in Him - a life of newness and personal growth and peace.

I'd simply like to leave you with the thought from St Augustine who said in his prayer: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you." May we all find rest in Jesus.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Greg Vangsness

 

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
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