The celebrated meteorologist Jim Cantore may not show up in Paducah this time like he did before the crippling storm in 2009, but the ice is on its way. Even as I write, it’s headed in our direction. The question is not if, but how much.
As I blog today, I’m thinking about just how much God deserves our undivided attention. Not just now, but always. That being firmly established, today matters too. Because it’s in the smallness that we feel – especially against the ferocious power of an ice storm – where we ought to spend at least a few minutes in worship. The worship of the living God. Friends, our Creator God is not just the maker of heaven and earth, but He is the author of every meteorological marvel. Of our great and awesome God, Job 37:6-13 testifies …
“For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour … From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen.”
“By the breath of God ice is given.” You and I ought not to take that lightly. If I understand the text correctly, we ought to respect the cold breath of God – whenever and however it comes. In years past, at times it’s been so cold in these parts that the Ohio River has become frozen solid from shore to shore. That’s not the case this year. In fact, as I type, the temperature is a balmy 65 and the skies are bright blue. But not for long! The ice is coming. The contrast between now and then is part of the mystery, and part of the wonder. Our God is nothing short of immutable, yet He reigns over every change.
Now we know why millions of birds move to Florida. And almost as many humans. It would seem to me that some people just aren’t as into the wonder of the cold breath of God. LOL. But what I’m challenging you to do in the next few days is this: interpret wisely. Yes, I know we’re creatures of comfort. Consider the bread aisles. From the lack of supplies before every winter storm, you’d think that everybody in Paducah lives on French toast.
But read the passage again. The Bible assures us that God creates wonderful weather phenomena for all kinds of reasons. The Egyptians learned the hard way that sometimes the ice is judgment. But sometimes the ice is grace. God’s purposes are many, and not always for us to understand. In fact, one of my favorite verses in the Bible is Deuteronomy 29:29. Check that one out in your spare time.
When it’s all said and done, the Lord is good, and He cares for us all. His goodness touches every creature. I might prefer the temps in Miami Beach over the next 48 hours, but I’m not ordering the universe. For that simple fact, we can all be grateful. I may interpret a layer of ice on my driveway as burdensome, but I’m not the one preparing to water Planet Earth when spring rolls around. Said most simply: there is a God, and I’m not Him. An ice storm is a not-so-subtle reminder. You and I can endure, or we can accept. But perhaps our best option is to say, “Bring it on, Lord. And help me see Your glory in it. After all, it’s all Yours.”
And don’t forget the springtime that is soon coming. The streets of our small city will come back to life, and we’ll enjoy outdoor dining again. Our students will throw footballs and laugh as the warmer winds blow. The days will be longer, and gray will be harder to find, and our moods will lift and soar. But what beauty is Easter morning without the prerequisite beauty of Good Friday? All things in God’s good timing, friends. All things in God’s good timing.
So we can know, at least for now – in the good Providence of our God – that you and I need a shot of ice. And our God is still good. And the God of the ice is to be feared, friends, simply because He is God. Thirteen years ago, warning all of Western Kentucky of the serious nature of the rapidly accumulating ice, Jim Cantore interrupted his live report for the Weather Channel to let everyone simply hear the sounds of the collapsing trees. Said Mr. Cantore, “I rest my case.” Perhaps he recognized what you and I must recognize: the whole earth is full of God’s glory!
Like Elihu, who challenged Job’s misguided friends and even the theological blind spots of Job himself (note to self: we all have blind spots), I feel compelled yet again to proclaim God’s unmatched majesty (Job 37:1): “At this also my heart trembles and leaps out of its place.”