June 11, 2012
Ministry has me in Alabamatoday where I am coaching Trinity Presbyterian Church.   I was given the privilege of bringing the message yesterday as well. 

I just experienced an Alabamathunderstorm that rocked my world.   Not only was the torrential downpour like nothing I have ever seen, but the thunder claps were so loud they literally made me jump.  I am awestruck!

As the rain poured down I was reminded of an article I wrote some time back entitled “Missions and Raindrops” – I share it again today for your encouragement:
Missions and Raindrops
by Matthew Ellison
Every so often I will surprise one of my kids by taking them with me on a ministry trip.  Of course to be fair, I rotate the opportunities.  Matthew, my oldest, who is now 12 years old, recently accompanied me to Dallas.   Following my meetings we spent two days braving the roller coasters at Six Flags Over Texas.  I think God smiled on us as we screamed our heads off, drank Monster Energy drinks and munched on foot long corn dogs.   Late in the afternoon of our last day at the amusement park it began raining but at that point we were on adrenaline overload and ready to call it a day. 

The following morning Matthew and I had devotion together.  I decided to begin with a question.  “Matthew, did you know God performed a great wonder last night in Dallas?  In fact, it was a miracle.’’ Matthew asked, “Really?  Did anyone in Dallasknow about it?”  I told him they did but probably didn’t consider it much of a miracle.  I proceeded to read him the following excerpt from an email that I received a couple of years ago from John Piper’s ministry:

Job 5:9,10  God does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number:  He gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields.”  (ESV – Italics mine)

Is rain a great and unsearchable wonder wrought by God? Picture yourself as a farmer in the Near East, far from any lake or stream. A few wells keep the family and animals supplied with water. But if the crops are to grow and the family is to be fed from month to month, water has to come on the fields from another source. From where?

Well, the sky. The sky? Water will come out of the clear blue sky? Well, not exactly. Water will have to be carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea, over several hundred miles and then be poured out from the sky onto the fields. Carried? How much does it weigh? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that would be 27,878,400 cubic feet of water, which is 206,300,160 gallons, which is 1,650,501,280 pounds of water.

That’s heavy. So how does it get up in the sky and stay up there if it’s so heavy? Well, it gets up there by evaporation. Really? That’s a nice word. What’s it mean? It means that the water sort of stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. I see. Then how does it get down? Well, condensation happens. What’s that? The water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That’s small.

What about the salt? Salt? Yes, the Mediterranean Sea is salt water. That would kill the crops. What about the salt? Well, the salt has to be taken out. Oh. So the sky picks up a billion pounds of water from the sea and takes out the salt and then carries it for three hundred miles and then dumps it on the farm?

Well it doesn’t dump it. If it dumped a billion pounds of water on the farm, the wheat would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the billion pounds water down in little drops. And they have to be big enough to fall for one mile or so without evaporating, and small enough to keep from crushing the wheat stalks.

How do all these microscopic specks of water that weigh a billion pounds get heavy enough to fall (if that’s the way to ask the question)? Well, it’s called coalescence. What’s that? It means the specks of water start bumping into each other and join up and get bigger. And when they are big enough, they fall. Just like that? Well, not exactly, because they would just bounce off each other instead of joining up, if there were no electric field present. What? Never mind. Take my word for it.

I think, instead, I will just take Job’s word for it. I still don’t see why drops ever get to the ground, because if they start falling as soon as they are heavier than air, they would be too small not to evaporate on the way down, but if they wait to come down, what holds them up till they are big enough not to evaporate? Yes, I am sure there is a name for that too. But I am satisfied now that, by any name, this is a great and unsearchable thing that God has done.”

Immediately after Matthew and I arrived back in Albuquerque, we proceeded to IsotopesParkto enjoy a baseball game with the rest of our family and some special friends of the ministry.  Within 5 minutes of the close of the game we got completely soaked by one of New Mexico’s famous torrential downpours.  Landin, my 7 year old who has two volumes, loud and louder, asked at the top of his lungs as he jumped into my truck, “Who did this to us?”  Matthew wisely responded, “Landin, don’t you know that God did this miracle.”  My crazy little Landin then asked, “Jesus, why did you do this to me?”  Matthew and I could not hold back the laughter.

So what do raindrops have to do with missions?  Well, the God who makes rain, who does great and unsearchable things, who performs wonders without number has called us to be on mission with Him.  He has commissioned us in His authority to make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:18-20) Therefore, I believe that we must attempt great things in our missions endeavors, expecting Him to perform great and unsearchable things for the sake of His glory.  So, the next time it rains, consider what this natural wonder is telling you about the glory and greatness of our God, and let it spur you on to attemptsomething so big that unless He intervenes, it is bound to fail.

Deuteronomy 28:12 The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.” (NIV)

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