Australia’s droughts, floods & fires
By Spencer D Gear PhD
(photo NSW drought, courtesy The Land)
1. “But there’s not much we can do about it.“
Really? In my view, there is one word too many in that statement. Which single word needs to be removed?
Get rid of ‘not’. There IS something we can do if we are God-fearing people.
2. Something fundamental is missing in the mass media and Australian government analyses!
What should we add to the excellent ABC News: Rural (2018) headline?
The big dry: ‘See us, hear us, help us’
That’s a cry for city cousins to dig deep to help people during the big drought. I’m 100% behind that cry for help and have given to the drought appeal. But there’s an essential component absent from that plea.
I ask some essential questions that I hope will open you to what we Australians can do about the drought, floods and fires. I’m not talking only of food and water for the animals and financial and mental health support for the farmers and their families.
I warn you. What I’m about to say is not politically correct news and there could be journalists in the mass media who will scoff at my analysis of the cause and solution of the drought crisis.
One drought-stricken farmer said, ‘I’m sick of this damn drought’ (ABC News: Rural 2018).
That comment leads …
2.1 Towards a solution: Who or what sends and stops the rain?
(Kenthurst Rotary fundraiser helping Aussie farmers, photo courtesy galstoncommunity.com.au)
Is the rain generated by some NASA space agency lab? Can we create rain to meet the needs in Aramac and Charleville in Qld and Broken Hill and Nyngan in NSW? Will cloud seeding do it when there are few clouds?
Is it global warming that stops the rain from falling in outback Australia and causes the regular droughts?
That misses the point: Who creates the clouds and blue skies in the first place and who continues to keep them going day after day?
The gifts of clouds and rain are made for the benefit of good and bad people. Water is essential to all of life. This view of the origin of rain comes from the Judeo-Christian world view on which the Australian nation was built from 1788 onwards..
It is a clear sign of God’s mercy when he sends rain. He and He alone sends the rain. Damning the drought is really damning God for not doing what we damned well want him to do. We don’t like settling for what God wants.
But wait a minute!
(image courtesy Pinterest)
This is how Jesus Christ put it:
‘Then you will be children of your Father who is in heaven. He causes his sun to shine on evil people and good people. He sends rain on those who do right and those who don’t (Matthew 5:45 NIRV).
I smiled when I read how Baron Charles Bowen, a British judge of the 19th century, put it:
The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust hath the just’s umbrella.
God Almighty sends the sun and the rain – and so the drought and the flood – on BOTH moral and immoral people – those who do right and those who don’t.. Where is God in what has become a secular Australian society? Secular means non-religious and worldly. In Australia, it tends towards meaning godless.
How long is it since you fell to your knees and confessed that you have sinned against God in so many ways, one of which is your failure to seek him diligently every day to send rain? Have you pleaded for God’s forgiveness for all of Australia’s wrongs committed?
This is not a word only for those suffering drought in the outback. It is for the whole nation.
Where are the prayer meetings in towns or suburbs to cry out to God for rain? Are you praying in your homes daily for God to open the skies with drought-breaking rain?
I haven’t heard the current Prime Minister call for a day or week of Prayer and Repentance for Australia.
Where are these kinds of mass media headlines?
“Drought brings farmers to their knees”
“The call to Australians to pray for the drought to break”
“Australia must repent of its moral depravity”
“Godliness exalts a nation”
“Drought and Australia’s spiritual condition”
On 6 September 2018, The Sydney Morning Herald reported:
“It’s great to see it raining here in Albury today,” [Prime Minister Scott Morrison] said, roaming the stage with a hand-held microphone.
“I pray for that rain everywhere else around the country. And I do pray for that rain.
“And I’d encourage others who believe in the power of prayer to pray for that rain and to pray for our farmers. Please do that.”
And in case there were those in the audience who weren’t God-fearing, Morrison included them, too.
“It all starts with the individual. I love Australia. Who loves Australia? Everyone. We all love Australia … Do we love all Australians? We’ve got to,” said Scott Morrison in his first major address as prime minister.
“And everyone else who doesn’t like to do that, you just say, ‘Good on you, guys. You go well’. Think good thoughts for them. Or whatever you do”.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s article title was:
‘Scott Morrison’s Sermon on the Murray. Love: It’s for Australians’
Our PM encouraged those who believed in the power of prayer to PRAY for rain for the farmers. For others, ‘Good on you, guys. You go well’. Think good thoughts for them. Or whatever you do”.
Then came this Opinion piece from ABC Religion & Ethics by Byron Smith (14 September 2018).
‘Faith without works: Why the Prime Minister’s call to pray for rain is offensive’
Why is the call to prayer for rain ‘offensive’? Byron Smith gave 3 reasons:
Firstly: Atheists. It’s an offensive gesture from national leader because it’s talking to the ‘sky fairy, embracing and promoting irrational superstition’. Some responded with ‘angry mockery’.
Secondly, ‘As a Christian’, Byron Smith found the comment offensive because of ‘the profound disconnect between his professed prayers and the pro-coal – and thus anti-farmer – agenda of his government’.
Thirdly, ‘When the government Morrison leads has spent many years doing little or nothing about the root causes of the warming that is worsening such extreme weather, then inviting the nation to pray in response is somewhat galling. The Coalition does not have a climate policy’.
Dr Byron Smith is currently Assistant Pastor at St. George’s Anglican Church, Paddington NSW in the Evangelical Anglican Diocese of Sydney.
Let’s not kid ourselves about the ‘root causes’ of the drought. It’s beyond the global warming issues to something more profound. Bryson Smith should know this as he’s a minister in the evangelical Anglican diocese of Sydney NSW.
How many of you can remember as far back as April 2007?
There you might have seen this headline in The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April 2007:
‘Pray for rain, urges [John] Howard’
(John Howard photo, courtesy pinterest)
2.1.1 ‘Pray for rain’
This article reported:
Prime Minister John Howard has urged Australians to pray for rain as hard-hit agricultural regions face zero water allocations due to drought.
Mr Howard warned last week that farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin faced having no water for the coming irrigation year unless heavy rain fell in the next six to eight weeks.
On Sunday he said he intended to meet irrigators over coming weeks to discuss the grim situation.
Meanwhile, he encouraged people to seek divine intervention.
“It’s very serious, it’s unprecedented in my lifetime and I really feel very deeply for the people affected,” Mr Howard told ABC Television.
“So we should all, literally and without any irony, pray for rain over the next six to eight weeks.”
Why isn’t Scott Morrison calling on local ministers’ associations across the nation to organise churches in every suburb and town to pray for drought-breaking rain?
2.1.2 South African political response to drought
Colin Newman of South Africa recalled that after his Christian conversion in 1977, South Africa experienced severe drought. The President called for a National Day of repentance and humiliation before God.
As a new Christian he was impressed with the masses of people who poured from workplaces to fill churches during lunch hours. Churches overflowed with people, praying for God to break the drought. However, these people poured out their prayers to God for repentance. When the rains came a few days later he was awestruck by God’s response to these prayers.
In 2012, Newman said since that time there have been serious droughts over 15 years but none of the previous three Presidents of South Africa called the people to prayer and repentance (Newman 2012).
Note: This is a 5-part series of which this is the 3rd part. It is connected to the next article: ‘Connection between spiritual condition of the nation and disasters’
 ABC News: Rural (2018).
 Available at: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/381680137141097167 (Accessed 8 January 2019).
 In Brandreth, G 2013. Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations. Oxford University Press, p. 314. This citation is available HERE.
 Oxford Dictionaries Online (2019. s.v. secular) gives the meaning as, ‘Not connected with religious or spiritual matters’. Collins Dictionary (2019. s.v. secular) provides the meaning ‘to describe things that have no connection with religion’. To gain an understanding of how some secular Australians think and the values they esteem, see the policies and aims of The Secular Party of Australia at: https://www.secular.org.au/ (Accessed 8 January 2019).
 Tony Wright 2018. Scott Morrison’s Sermon on the Murray. Love: it’s for Australians. WA Today (online), 6 September. Available at: https://www.watoday.com.au/politics/federal/scott-morrison-s-sermon-on-the-murray-love-it-s-for-australians-20180906-p5026m.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed (Accessed 27 February 2019).
 Byron Smith 2018. Faith without works: Why the Prime Minister’s call to pray for rain is offensive. ABC Religion & Ethics (online, 14 September. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/religion/why-it-was-offensive-for-the-prime-minister-to-call-for-prayer/10245992 (Accessed 2 November 2018).
 The Sydney Morning Herald 2007. Pray for rain, urges Howard (online), 22 April. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/national/pray-for-rain-urges-howard-20070422-gdpyx1.html (Accessed 6 January 2019).
 Available at: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/291959988324555653 (Accessed 6 January 2019).
 Colin Newman 2012. Droughts, Tsunami’s and God. Frontline Fellowship (online), 29 May. Available at: http://www.frontline.org.za/index.php?option=com_multicategories&view=article&id=910:droughts-tsunamis-and-god&catid=24:political-social-issues-cat (Accessed 18 August 2018).
Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 26 May 2019.