by Pastor Tim Klein, Faith Lutheran Church Warrdale SA and 1st Assistant Bishop, Lutheran Church of Australia SA/NT District.

Life – even in times of drought.

“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither –
whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

Lord, may what is written here be faithful to you and bless and encourage those who read it.

The images of drought are confronting. They remind us of struggle, fragility and mortality.

My greatest sadness in this and any drought is to see and hear of people on the land who, through the circumstances of drought, may be forced to action that denies their whole existence: using up their stock feed reserves and capacity to purchase more, watching crops sown with promise die for lack of water, every day dealing with precious stock losing condition, selling or culling stock (especially herds and genetics built over many years), even walking off the land.

I recall recent images of a dairy family sending off their precious milking cows to the meat works. There’s palpable grief, helplessness and despair. I suspect I am not alone in feeling deep sadness with them. Lord have mercy!

But drought happens in other ways. It’s not just about water. It can be isolation from family, distancing of friendships and other supports, loss of job and income, illness, forced changes in circumstances. All bring their own griefs and sense of helplessness. All bring the faces of struggle, fragility and mortality.

They say: “Where there’s life, there’s hope”. But many in despair find that hard to understand, let alone accept. It is never-the-less a true saying, but especially true for those whose life is in the Lord. Life is more than water, working, success, eating and drinking. Jesus said: we do not live on bread alone (Matthew 4:4).

We live on the promises and blessings that God provides: bread of life, living water, his mercy, his constant healing presence. We have hope beyond the struggles and fragility of life.

The promise in Psalm 1 remains true. Whoever trusts in the Lord, whatever their circumstances; “delighting in the Lord, meditating on His Word night and day”, will be like a “tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers” (from Psalm 1)

Our hope rests in Jesus. He has promised not to forsake or ever leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6). That has always been true, and will remain true. We rely on His mercy. Our constant prayer is this: Lord have mercy!

He knows our needs and he will bring us safely through this time of struggle – as He has in the past.

He gives us Life – even in times of drought.

Pray unceasingly – bring your cries to the Lord. Love and serve the Lord even as you love your family and your neighbours. If you are a person of faith, then you have opportunity to share the reason for your faith with those who are struggling. Share the Lord’s mercy and peace with them. Do whatever you can to help. Pray for them. Bring Jesus with you wherever you go, whenever, and with whoever you encounter.

Where is our hope? Who is our helper in every circumstance of life?

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:1

Lord of all. You know the needs of people in times of drought. You know the droughts that we all face. Have mercy on each and every hurting and struggling situation. Lord, have mercy. Send rain in season. Break the drought and restore peace and health to fragile people and communities. Use your people to bring Jesus into those struggling situations. We ask these things in the name of this our Saviour, the Lord of life: Jesus! Amen.

Lord Have Mercy – Steve Merkeel