This summer, “climate change” settled into Southern California with a vengeance. Drought conditions have been unrelenting, and everyone had to reduce their water usage drastically. Our water district was required to reduce its consumption by 25% per household over its use two years ago. We have begun collecting our shower and kitchen sink water for hydrating trees, potted plants, and roses. We have cut back our sprinkler system to the mandated twice a week limit, and we’ve allowed our back lawn to die—although the death has pained me.
Ironically, however, our water rationing coincided with the heaviest thunderstorm recorded in our part of the state in over 100 years. On July 11 Richard was in Orange County attending Paul Carden’s ministry board meeting, and I was working in the suffering yard. Suddenly, intense lighting and almost-simultaneous thunder sent me running for cover just as the deluge began. Within minutes, gutters were flooding and downspouts gushed as the lightning and crashing continued.
Minutes passed before I heard the alarming sound. Entering our second office, I found the worst: water was pouring—not dripping—through a hole in the ceiling over our bookcase, drenching family photo albums and threatening our store of ministry books. Quickly moving the albums, I spread towels under a catch basin, texting pictures and signaling my alarm to my husband trapped in a meeting where he was trying to take notes as the board secretary.
Rain continued relentlessly, and on a hunch I checked our spare bedroom. The leak was even worse there. In just minutes water had saturated pillows, comforter, mattress pad, and was soaking into the mattress under a hole in the ceiling near the head of the bed. Stripping the bed, I established three catch basins and distracted Richard with more urgent texts and pictures of destruction by water.
When he arrived home three hours later, Richard climbed onto the failing tile roof, and I handed him plastic garbage bags which he strategically arranged over the leaks, rearranging tiles so our spare rooms were temporarily protected.
Thus began his nearly completed negotiations for a roofing contractor. The original cement tile roof is over 50 years old, and it is literally decomposing in the areas it has been exposed to the relentless California sun. It took the rainstorm of the century to reveal to us its true condition. So, while we continue to ration our water with temperatures soaring to three digits, we repair the desert damage to our roof before—again ironically—the cyclical El Nino conditions scheduled for this fall bring tropical rains to Southern California.
The fact that our air conditioning system breathed its last and simply died in the midst of our climate crisis last month was like adding a wound to a limb already insulted by a compound fracture.
These crises are distracting, time-consuming, and invasive. It’s at times like these that I remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:31-34: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
A roof, a heating and air conditioning system, and water-damaged ceilings are in that category of things about which I naturally fret. Jesus reminds me that my Father knows we need these things, and we’re not to be like unbelieving gentiles, worrying about what we eat, drink, wear, or about how we’ll stay dry and cool. He is sovereign, and He knows how to provide.
Indeed, He has already provided for our air conditioning, and we continue to thank him for the Christian men who installed the new system that works better than the previous one ever did. Meanwhile, He asks us to continue to seek first His kingdom. Our commitment to His word and to His will—and to the work He gives us—these are what He wants from us, and He, like a true Father, cares for us and provides what we need.
God is sovereign. He is not surprised by the sudden storms that change everything in our world in a moment. He is already in the future, and He is faithful.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lam. 3:22-24)