praying for the weather

Some thoughts on a sunny day...

It was a gray and wet spring here in beautiful British Columbia. Yes, more than usual if you can believe that!

And now all we see if sunshine for many days to come. You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief across the Greater Vancouver Region. Finally!

Everyone is happy and smiling.

I actually didn't mind the wet weather.

But for many, weather impacts mood and overall disposition. Rain brings depression, with happiness dependent on rays of sunshine. For some, the opposite is the case. The technical term is seasonal affective disorder.

For others, farmers for examples, weather impacts livelihood and the ability to provide for one’s family. In some places in the world, weather determines survival itself (and while you’re thinking about it, please support the drought relief work of MCC in Africa).

Considering the weather’s effect, it’s no wonder people pray for rain. Or sun. Or clouds. Or a mix of sun and cloud so it’s not too hot, but still nice enough to have a church picnic (ours is this Sunday!). Weather is a big deal!

But I wonder, when is it appropriate to pray for the weather? Or even further, is it even appropriate to pray for the weather?

Praying for weather, we can forget, is more complicated than it seems:
  • What happens when the depressed person’s prayer for sun is matched with a prayer for rain by the farmer down the road?
  • What happens when rain finally comes to areas of drought only to carry with it disease and sickness to the thirsty masses?
  • What happens when the beautiful warmth of the sun only tells the beginning of the story in which a young father battles deadly skin cancer?
I’m not saying stop praying for the weather. If anything, our prayers remind us that everything in this world comes from our Creator God (Ps. 8), including the weather (Ps. 135:6-7).

But we need to be careful we don’t base our belief in God’s goodness on the result of our specific meteorological prayers.

So if you’re complaining about an exhausting heat wave or questioning whether or not summer will ever arrive, remember this: foremost in Christian belief is God as creator, not God as weatherman or sky-controlling magician. God doesn’t play favorites when it comes to the weather, so why should we?  

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Mt. 5:45)

Related: “Rain” over at Rumblings.


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