I recently read a story of two farmers that were praying for rain during a difficult drought. One farmer started building a dam and later a new irrigation system and the other farmer just made fun of him due to not seeing rain. The farmer that was preparing for the rain just kept saying, “The rain’s coming.”
Finally the rain came and the farmer that prepared was blessed with great prosperity, but the other farmer’s crops soon dried up after the initial rain. The story illustrates how we are to prepare in the dry season, or we will not be ready when the rain comes. Zechariah 10:1 tells us, “Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people,
and plants of the field to everyone.”
Maybe you have been in a dry season, and it seems like God has forgotten you or your prayers have not been answered. If this is the case, I think it’s time for a rain check. In 1 Kings we read about a drought that went on for several years at the word of Elijah. God tells Elijah to get ready and meet Ahab as the rain is coming. Elijah asks his servant if he sees any sign of rain, and six times the servant comes back and tells him there is no rain. Finally, on the seventh time the servant says there is a small cloud over the sea the size of a man’s hand. After hearing this, Elijah tells Ahab to get on the road quickly before the rain stops him. In other words, he was given the promise of rain by God, and never doubted the rain was coming.
I believe there are 4 things that can block the rain of God’s presence in our lives. First of all, Unconfessed Sin could be keeping us from the rain of God. I read a story of a drunk guy that stumbled into a house and started stealing things, and then to cover his tracks, he lit the place on fire. A few hours later walking around the neighborhood, he comes to his house and it’s in flames because he had set his own place on fire. Unconfessed sin is like that, and if not dealt with it can destroy us from the inside out. 1 John 1:9 tells us to confess our sins, and He is faithful and just to forgive us of all sins. Think of unconfessed sins like termites eating away on the inside, but outside everything appears fine. I encourage you to confess your sins, known and unknown and let God bring the rain into your life.
Next, Unforgiveness could be keeping us from the rain of God. The Bible says if we don’t forgive others, then God won’t forgive us. What a powerful thought. I love this quote by Max Lucado: “Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing that you were the prisoner!” We have been shown mercy and grace when we didn’t deserve it, so we should do the same. A bear was eating leftovers and not willing to share with anyone until a skunk showed up. The bear let him eat, because the cost was too great to try and get even with the skunk. It’s the same way when we hold a grudge, as we have to let go and let God.
Next, an Unbridled Tongue could be keeping us from the rain of God. The power of life and death are in the tongue, so could we be keeping the rain away by the words that we say. Another powerful quote from Winston Churchill says, “We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.” 1 Peter 3:10 says, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.”
Finally, an Unsteady Heart could be keeping us from the rain of God. Ronald Reagan as a boy tells a story of trying to get new shoes made from a cobbler. The cobbler asked if he wanted round toes or square toes, and Reagan could not make up his mind. The cobbler made him one shoe with round toes and the other shoe with square toes, and Reagan learned a powerful lesson in indecisiveness that day! We have to quit riding the fence, in one day and out the next, and be fully committed to God in everything we say and do. It’s all about submission to God and his will for our life. One story tells of a young boy that’s being punished and doesn’t agree with sitting in the corner. He told his mom he was sitting down on the outside but inside he was standing up. In other words, he obeyed but he didn’t submit. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
It’s time to confess our sins, forgive others, bridle our tongue and steady our heart so we can get ready for the rain! For the full message visit Botkinburg Foursquare on Facebook.
Rocky Thomas is Senior Pastor, Botkinburg Foursquare Church