South Jersey is a beautiful place to live and work. We are entering the summer holiday season when thousands come to enjoy the Jersey Shore attractions and beaches. Sadly, many of our current residents and most of our visitors are unaware that Ocean City was originally dedicated in prayer as a place for rest and spiritual revival. I appeal to those who pray to rededicate this beautiful place. We should pray for “waters” to rise. But don’t be alarmed. I am not praying for sea levels to rise.
Most of us agree climate change is affecting our beautiful shoreline. Most of us also agree that the sea levels are not fixed. Scientists at Rutgers Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences have determined that the sea levels have risen about a half inch every decade since the birth of Christ. And the New Jersey shoreline is constantly being reshaped by storms as well as the rise of the seas. During the 20th century, the sea levels rose globally by 7 inches. Over the last twenty years, they have risen by nearly 3 inches and the rate appears to be accelerating. Sandy had a storm tide of 8.9 ft in Atlantic City and damage from storms will increase as sea levels rise. The next superstorm could be worse. So why, you ask, should I pray for “waters” to rise?
We should pray because we need a thorough response to climate change. It appears that the scientific data and Biblical prophecy agree. The prophet Jeremiah wrote:
“How desolate Babylon will be among the nations! The sea will rise over Babylon; its roaring waves will cover her.” (Jer. 51:41 NIV)
We need more than research, more than policy changes, and more than a reduction of man-made effects on climate change. We need a thoroughly prayerful response to God by those of us who pray.
Naturally, the Jersey Shore should be preserved by every means available in order that it may remain a place to welcome people from all over the world. Therefore, in addition to the political and economic initiatives to reduce the effects of climate change on sea levels, we should pray. By doing so, the spiritual “waters” will rise. Jesus declares,
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38 NIV)
South Jersey is a beautiful place that God intended for good. Therefore, I urge those of us who pray and who call South Jersey home, to respond to God by fulfilling our God-given calling to provide hospitality, welcoming people to our shores, and praying for the knowledge of God’s glory to cover our communities. We should pray for the fulfillment of Habakkuk’s prophecy:
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14 NIV)