Rain and Revival

Austin, Texas is known for a lot things. It’s the Capital of Texas; “Live Music Capital of the World”; “The Third Coast”; and the “Second Silicon Valley.” It’s a great city, and because of that, it is the fastest growing city in the U.S. with more than 100 people a day arriving to make Austindrought home. It’s known for the lake system created by the Colorado River that flows through the city. Texas and U.S. history runs deep in Austin. But we’re making a new mark in history now. We’re suffering from historic drought conditions – the worst in more than 50 years. And the fact that we’re adding a hundred new people a day doesn’t help the water supply. Lake Travis, fed by the Colorado, is 50 feet below its standard level of 681 feet. In some lake areas, levels are so low that old towns and settlements are now uncovered which had been under water for many years. The state and local governments have put measures in place for rationing and preserving our dwindling water supply.

But even though the plans are needed, plans to ration and preserve will not solve our problem. For all the good things about Austin, we are a city in need of more than rain that will replenish our rivers and lakes. We are a city in need of a downpour of God’s Spirit, bringing revival to the church and the refreshing work of God to a spiritually dry city.

Is lack of rain an indication of God’s judgment? If it’s not God’s judgment, it’s at best His desire to once again get our attention and our hearts. We’ve read, heard, quoted and prayed the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” But we may be guilty of reading the verse in isolation. Verse 13 sets the context for our humbling, praying, seeking and turning. For verse 13 says, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people.”

God has shut up the heavens in central Texas. But IF we, His people, will humble ourselves, and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, THEN He will hear and forgive our sin and heal our land.

God, we need rain. But more than the rain, we need the healing it represents.


You Never Know…

There is a small community next to the neighborhood where I grew up that, to this day, is still known as “Who’d-a Thought-It.” The story was that someone was traveling the road from the city one day and discovered that a home had been built in this new, somewhat isolated area, and exclaimed, “Well, who’d-a thought it!” I assume that the story is true as the name has been used by people for many years and it’s the only explanation I’ve ever heard.

All of us have those “who’d-a thought it” moments in life. I had one recently when I received a note from a happy bride of one year. She wrote to say, once again, how much she enjoyed the whole wedding experience, how wonderful the first year of marriage had been, and how much the words I spoke in the wedding had meant to her and her husband. Then she told me of a recent discovery. Though the words had been directed toward them, there was another couple attending the wedding that was having a difficult time. Some major health issues and struggles were taking their toll on them and even affecting their relationship. But the words of scripture and encouragement I shared with the bride and groom, though not even meant for this couple, were heard by them as needed words of hope. They latched on to those and left with a new resolve to trust God and renewed hope for their lives and home. And a year later they were able to tell this young bride that God had used her wedding and words spoken to her to renew their love and commitment. Well who’d-a thought it.

You never know who is listening and what God will do with your words. Or, for that matter, what the enemy will do if you are not wise with your words. Paul wrote, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt…” (Colossians 4:6) And David said, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

Be careful what you say and how you say it. Our words have impact on people – even when we don’t know that they are listening. Who’d-a thought it?