Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

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Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

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Australia is not a particularly religious country. Religion does not define the average young Australian to the extent that it does, say, a North American.

We have many religious individuals in Australia, but as a whole we seem to value the ideals of "mateship," putting "mates" or friends first no matter what. Acceptance - Australians are very proud of their multiculturalism and highly diverse cuisine - and a relaxed, dry sense of humor mean more than being a "Christian." Moments of religiosity seem more likely to result from the ecstasy of our team winning the Cricket World Cup than from following a particular religion!

Currently, our nation is officially in the grip of the worst drought in a hundred years. The Murray-Darling river system (a major river system as important as the Rhine in Europe or Mississippi in America) is predicted to soon stop flowing if no more rain falls.

Virtually every city in Australia has maximum water restrictions in place, with an emphasis on three-minute showers and using a bucket to catch the excess water for the garden. Some reservoirs are only at 3 percent capacity. With this in the forefront of every Australian's mind, Prime Minister John Howard, recognizing the grave situation in our land, appealed last week to the entire nation to pray for rain.

I'm not sure just how many young Australians began praying for rain. But during this last week the beautiful sound of steady rainfall has been heard. Our merciful God has taken pity and answered our prayers! Abundant rain has fallen not only on the coastal areas, but also throughout the drought-stricken interior. It has brought great relief to the farmers who needed this rain at this exact time for their upcoming plantings.

Pure coincidence? I have faith that it is not. The drought has been so bad and any inland rain so unlikely that this is indeed a miracle.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media has been extremely quiet about the possibility that the recent rains coincided with the prime minister's request for prayers. Many young Australians have not heard about the inland rainfall due to the media's selective coverage. I find this sad because they will fail to make a connection between the prayers and the rain.

There are a number of encouraging examples regarding drought and answered prayers in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament. In one instance the Israelites in Elijah's day had to humble themselves, to actually ask God for help and to trust in His promises to bring rain after a prolonged period of drought (1 Kings 17-18 and James 5:7, 16-18).

If only all Australians believed in God and His ability to provide as He has just shown us. Few do today. You can, however. Just download or request the free booklet You Can Have Living Faith to learn how.

With these biblical examples in mind, I know I will continue praying for more desperately needed rain. I also look earnestly toward the soon-coming future when people of all nations will acknowledge God's mercy and blessings, follow Him and trust that He will "...open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand" (Deuteronomy 28:12).

Sarah Gray lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is finishing her degree in art education and is a member of the United Church of God.