It seems that everybody’s talking about our inclement weather. Lately and more vociferously than usual, folks are saying the weather is bad, severe, extreme, foul, harsh, stormy, rainy, windy, squally—any or all of the above adjectives apply, depending upon the location. How’s the weather there where you are? Is it trending similarly – – -not calm/not typical/ not peaceful?
Front-page newspaper articles headline, picture and feature devastating weather events: multiple tornados in the same area, destructive twisters, incapacitating flash floods, extensive storm damage, and state emergency death tolls. This catastrophic devastation caused the destruction and loss of human lives and limbs and the obliteration of landscape and property.
However, the unpredictability of the weather is predictable. Scripture tells us that there will be earthquakes in various places. It refers to fire and hail, snow and clouds and stormy winds. Yet our present unease stems from the disturbing fact that previously predictable weather occurrences now occur unpredictably.
Consider Psalm 29:3-9
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters:
the God of glory thundereth:
the Lord is upon many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars;
Yea, the voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf;
Lebanon and Sirion like a wild ox.
The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness;
the voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
the voice of the Lord maketh the hinds/deer to calve,
and discovereth the forests:
and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.
As we meditate on this passage, we understand that God controls the vagaries/quirks of the weather. We acknowledge what seems capricious and beyond our understanding is actually the structured iteration of Almighty God’s volition and power. His ways are past our finding out. What we can know from this passage is that God is in control of the weather. He speaks from a place of authority, above the waters. Using only the powerful thunder of his majestic voice, God breaks huge trees into pieces and makes them skip like calves; he makes the deer give premature birth; he shakes the wilderness, making it tremble, and strips bare the forests; he strikes with flames of fire/streaks of lightning. In essence, the voice of the Lord exercises God’s dominion over the same nature that he spoke into existence when he created the world. No wonder this psalm has been called, “The Song of the Thunderstorm!”
Thus lessoned, what is to be the believer’s response to earth-shaking weather? Should it be terror and impassioned supplication for personal safety? Should it be frantic panic? Should it be stoic resignation to disaster? No. No. No. The last line of this passage instructs us. As God speaks in power through the weather, we must speak also; however, we must speak of his glory. In a word, we must worship our God.
The second verse of this psalm instructs us:
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Worship God for his sufficiency in himself: the eleven verses of this short psalm mention his name – – only – – eighteen times.
Worship God for his dominion over nature.
Worship God for his everlasting position as supreme governor of the world. He sat as King of the flood/deluge, and he sits enthroned as king forever.
Worship God for his grace: the psalm ends with a promise, assuring his believers that God will give them strength and bless them with peace!
Standing on this promise as the storms rage, we can say with hymn writer Charles A. Tindley:
When the storms of life are raging
Stand by me. [repeat]
When the world is tossing me
Like a ship upon the sea
Thou who ruleth wind and water
Stand by me.
We can sing with Fanny Crosby that we are “safe in the arms of Jesus.”
We can shout with Lucy Campbell that there’s:
Something within me that holdeth the reins
Something within me that banishes pain
Something within me I cannot explain
All that I know – –
There is something within.
Finally, believers can ride through stormy weather on the strength of the promise of God, himself:
You are mine.
when you pass through the waters, i will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
nor shall the flame scorch you. for I am the lord your God
Praise the Lord! No matter what the weather is, was or is predicted to be – -May you journey in good weather!