It has been 11 months since the Rim Fire, the third largest wildfire in California history, devastated our Sierra Nevada forest and pasture lands. This year is already predicted to be another severe fire season for the whole of California. It has also been four years running that the state has experienced a water drought, this year being the worst. Some research says that it has actually been going on since the year 2000. Where does this leave the State of California, desperate and dumbfounded? Is this a crisis that man can fix? How many trillions of dollars is this costing our already debt stricken state? The headlines are correct in declaring California in a ‘State of Emergency’. I would love to share more facts (go ahead and Google it or read the headlines) on these two major issues, but you get the picture; the wildfires cost millions if not billions of dollars to fight each year, while damaging homes and grazing lands and the drought is causing livestock to be sold off, farms and orchards to shut down, and invested businesses and landscapes to dry out.
To give an example of where the public opinion currently resides with the drought, my dad recently shared at a public meeting that was addressing our water crises and his very honest and open comments were posted in our local newspaper. Of course his comments stating that, ‘we need to pray to God’, were immediately criticized in a Letter to the Editor, saying he “has no business expressing his religious beliefs in public.” I realize that we are from an extremely small town and my dad’s comments did receive some praise as well. But if this type of thing was said in L.A. or San Francisco for example, I cannot imagine the backlash. The public opinion in California and the rest of the nation is simply put, “Keep God out of the public!” Sadly, this belief has been successful for the last 60 or so years.
Is there a remedy to our crisis?
Ever since the Rim Fire I have had Joel 1 and 2 burning on my heart. This is the remedy to the crisis in California and the nation! I want to highlight just a few verses from these two chapters.
Has not the food been cut off before our very eyes—joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seeds are shriveled beneath the clods. The storehouses are in ruins, the granaries have been broken down, for the grain has dried up. How the cattle moan! The herds mill about because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep are suffering. To you, Lord, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness. Joel 1:16-20
This clearly addresses the crisis that California is in! So what do we do?
“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, and call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” Joel 2:12-17
Return to the LORD! Remember who He is! With California’s crisis I am reminded of the One who created and controls these two elements; water and fire. The stories of Noah, Moses, and Elijah come to mind. Or how about Jesus when He calmed the storm after saying, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26). I know of a place that has a sea of glass that is mingled with fire (Revelation 15:2). Where is our faith? What are we afraid of? This is the hour to ask with fervent prayer knowing that our Lord answers. Let your faith arise!
“Now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:7
At the beginning of this year I felt like this was to be a year of posture. As we hit the half year mark I realize that more than ever! We need to be in the posture of prayer and fasting to receive what the Lord is saying and doing in this very specific hour. Again this was confirmed when Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s daughter) spoke in May at the National Day of Prayer and covered this very scripture. Please check it out and respond to the alarm as she has urged the Body of Christ to a week of prayer and fasting, the 777 Urgent Call to Prayer.
To watch the National Day of Prayer video click HERE
To join in on the 7 days of prayer click HERE