Job 5:10 (NIV) “He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside.”
During the Sunday morning service, we have open prayer request time. We hear updates about those who are sick, traveling, or concerned about school projects. During planting, we pray for safety in the fields. During harvest, we pray for safety in the fields. Invariably, scattered throughout the weeks, we voice concern about rain.
The farmers need rain for their crops. The ranchers need rain for their hay. Mid-summer hits and everyone who is not a farmer realizes the need for rain when everything turns brown.
We who need rain can have two responses to our angst. First, we could sit in our chair and stare at the clouds out the window, biting our nails with anxiety. This response is our natural one. Even in the face of something outside our control, we naturally worry. We worry about weather. We worry about crop yields. We worry about calving season. We worry about finances. We worry about our children as they start driving. We worry about what people will think about the dish we bring to a potluck meal. We worry about everything and have control over nothing.
From a fellow human worrier: worry accomplishes nothing.
Our alternative response is to turn to the one who has control. The Bible says that God has control over the weather. In His great plan, he withholds rain and he sends rain. And, in His amazing mercy, He listens to the needs of those who are His. He listened to the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament and withheld rain for three years and six months, so that Israel would turn from false gods. Then, when Elijah prayed again, God sent a heavy rain.
From a fellow human worrier: trust accomplishes everything.
What would happen if we stopped worrying and starting trusting the God who is in control and who listens to our needs? Instead of biting our nails and pulling out our hair, we pray. When our neighbor expresses his fear of the future, we pray. When our child is concerned about the outcome of a paper, we pray.
Now, I know that prayer does not remove our need to act. We are to be wise and do our due diligence. But, prayer removes our need to worry, so we can breathe and sleep in peace.
2 Corinthians 2:14–16 (NIV): But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.
Every year, the rest of the volunteers and I move into the pavilion, bringing tables, chairs, balloons, and face-paints. Around 4pm on Thursday, one kid pokes his face into the door, tentatively wondering if we are open for business. A few minutes after he leaves, triumphantly holding his balloon creation and sporting a paint-plastered face, we are swarmed by kids of all ages, including those who would never admit being a kid in any other situation.
The County Fair is a blast. Each face-painted and each balloon-made created a memory for those kids, who hopefully will look back on it with fondness.
As we sat in the pavilion, we experienced first-hand the odors of the county fair. The smell of fried food. The wafting of animals being cleaned. The pile of manure and chips. Every smell attached to a memory. Every memory attached to an emotion. Those who stuck around the fair for multiple days began to smell like the fair, for better or for worse.
The Bible says that everyone gives off a spiritual smell, either life or death, depending on who we are spending time with. Those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ are called to give off an aroma of life.
When Jesus lived on earth, he was known as someone who loved unconditionally. He showed everyone compassion and respect. He listened to everyone and encouraged those who were weak. His love is not a normal love.
He also spoke truth, calling people to account for their sin and holding religious leaders to blame for their hypocrisy. He did not speak out of hatred, but out of love, pushing everyone around him to reflect their Creator. This brings the most joy and fulfilment.
Everyone who interacted with Jesus, experiencing his love and his truth, remarked on how different he was.
We who call ourselves his followers should live in a such a way that others say: “You smell like Jesus.” Who do people say you smell like?
Pastor of Calvary Bible Church, Neligh, NE. Missionary with RHMA. Husband to Maggie. Father to Grace, David, and Daniel. Saved by Jesus Christ