He sends his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.—Psalm 147:15-18
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.—Romans 8:28
As you can tell by the above verses from Psalm 147, it’s snowing again, and I’m trying to have a good attitude about it. I’m sitting at home on my couch writing this article because we closed the office at noon so everyone could go home before the roads got any worse. It has been a wet winter, which is a huge blessing, and also kind of a pain.
I’ve probably written about this before, but I believe we can learn a lot from the weather, because the weather is a great example of something that affects our lives greatly and is completely out of our control. We make our plans and live under the illusion that we can steer our lives in the direction we want, but from time to time we get these reminders that we do not control what might fall on us from the sky at any given moment. We are at the mercy of forces larger than ourselves. The truth is that the direction of our lives isn’t completely up to us. We don’t get to decide what happens, just how we react to it.
Much of life happens outside of our ability to influence it. It falls on us like snow, whether we want it to or not. The weather, the economy, corrupt politicians, cancer, mean bosses, bad drivers, children making choices we wish they wouldn’t…we don’t control any of it. It’s sobering, but helpful, to have a clear understanding of which things are up to us and which aren’t, because then we can zero in on the things that are our responsibility and do them to the best of our ability. Personally, I know that I live with more peace in my heart when I remember that there’s a whole lot that’s not up to me, and that I answer to God only for those things that are within my power to do.
But what about all the rest? Thankfully, as believers we know that behind all the things that come our way there is a sovereign God who is full of wisdom and love. He is the one who sends the snow, which means that this spring we will have life everywhere, beautiful and green, and that this summer the forests around us will fare better during fire season. It also means that I have to shovel again, which I can either grumble about or receive as an opportunity to get some exercise and serve my family.
And what about the harder things? What about the really painful things like disease and death? Well, there are only two options: either God is sovereign over such things, and they come to us only because He has allowed it, or they are beyond God’s reach, and He is at the mercy of those things just like we are. In one case we have to wrestle with why our wise and loving God would allow us to experience such hardship, and in the other we have to wrestle with whether or not it’s worthwhile to worship and serve a God who doesn’t really run the universe.
Personally, I believe the weight of the evidence in Scripture points to the fact that the things we sing each Sunday are true: God is in control. God is good, and God is loving, and there is nothing that comes my way that He has not allowed for His own good purposes in my life. Even if I can’t understand it, I can trust that someday I will see the reason and agree that He knew what He was doing all along. In the meantime, I can receive everything that comes my way as from the hand of my Father, whether it’s rain from the sky or bad news from the doctor. It’s hard to remember this sometimes, but I want to grow into someone who isn’t afraid of what might come my way, and who doesn’t complain when things happen that I would not have chosen. My God has sent it, or at least allowed it to come my way, and that is good enough for me.
Also, I have to admit that the snow is beautiful. Like many things in life, it is a gift from God that has positive and negative aspects. It makes driving difficult, but it fills our lakes and paints the hillsides with a reminder of God’s majesty. I get to choose which of these I focus on. This week, I pray you see glimpses of His goodness, wisdom and love in whatever comes your way. May He continue to teach us that we can trust Him in all things.
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’—Job 37:5,6