April 7, 2018
This morning I woke up to snow. Quite a bit of it, actually. I think it’s the most snow we’ve had all season—and it waited until a week after April Fool’s day to come. We were certainly fooled. Even for unpredictable Midwest weather, it’s surprising.
The trees have been fully flowered for at least two weeks—some are already green—and now they stand out against a backdrop of white. It’s as if all the farmer’s almanacs and annual expectations were smothered in frozen moisture.
Our first summer thunderstorms are only a few short weeks away. The grandness of their thunder, punctuated by lightning, and the eeriness of stormy darkness always give me goosebumps. I love standing in our garage, as close to the torrential downpour as I can without getting soaked, and feel the charged air around me change and move.
I’m no meteorologist, but our weather can teach us. The rain and sunshine and beautiful, ever-changing clouds are proof that the love and faithfulness of our Creator God are eternally and gloriously true, but there’s more.
God is great.
When Life is Hard
In the book of Job, a follower of God suffers unimaginable hardship in every area of his life. His children are killed, his flocks and herds (not only the source of his wealth, but his actual wealth) are stolen, and his previous good health evaporates. Chapter after chapter, he grapples with this new reality in his life and wonders if God really is good.
Eventually, God pulls back the curtain and shows Job the backdrop of his suffering and the eternal glory and purpose that fill even those hard things. But in the process, Job also realizes: God is great.
So great that we can never keep Him in a neatly labeled box with clear dimensions and consistent boundaries. He will always burst our predictions and shock our expectations.
‘“Who shut in the sea with doors,’” He asked Job, “‘when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?”’ (Job 38:8-11).
The God of eternity used a shepherd boy to kill a giant, and sent frogs and bugs to terrorize a slave-holding enemy. He let cruel armies overrun His faithless people and sent enough rain to cover His entire creation, except for eight people on a wooden boat. He picked the smaller and weaker twin, Jacob, to father His chosen nation, and He worked through famines and wars and natural disasters to show His character. And He sent His own Son to save the world, stepping into our reality as a helpless baby.
None of this was a surprise to Him. He never has to settle for less than He wants and His plan is never couched in caveats. Every lightning bolt, every cosmic meteor, every snowflake is entirely in His command.
No Matter the Darkness
When God declares Job’s suffering is over, He reminds Job—and all of us—how absurd it is to even question the plans of a sovereign and all-knowing God.
‘“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?
What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
and a way for the thunderbolt,
to bring rain on a land where no man is,
on the desert in which there is no man,
to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground sprout with grass?’” (Job 38:22-27).
The God who calms the storms also creates them, and His power is never hindered by any of our plans or expectations or almanac predictions. He rules the weather. He rules history. He rules the future.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
No matter what thunder or lightning or darkness swirls around us, no matter what expectations are thrown out the window by reality, whether our world is covered in snow or shaken with earthquakes, God is good.
And He is great.