God has been cleaning house this year! In the trees, that is . . .
Back in October we had high winds whip through, breaking off a large part of this oak tree in the woods beside our house. The huge branch just missed the gated archway that supports a flowering vine.
Others in town did not fare as well. The ground was already saturated when the storm arrived, and huge trees that seemed immovable were easily uprooted by the force of the wind. Power outages and road closures in the area lasted for days.
Cleanup lasted much longer, as trees were cut up and hauled off and piles of branches and twigs piled up on the side of yards everywhere.
The winds returned last Friday. After work I pulled into my parking spot in the driveway just in time to watch a major tree branch fall by the light of my headlights!
My husband came running out of the house after seeing me pull in and then hearing the crash, thinking I might be hurt.
I jumped out of the car and said, “Wasn’t that awesome???”
This past Monday we began the morning with yet another high wind warning. This storm seemed to have much less of an effect on us, even though winds were ahowlin‘!
There were a few scattered power outages that were quickly taken care of, the winds quickly died down, and life got back to normal once again.
I have shared before that I am a wild weather lover. Powerful storms remind me of the even greater power of their Creator.
We can learn more about this power when we read the Bible, God’s Word to us.
Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the LORD! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.Revelation 19:6 NLT
“The Almighty.” The Creator of heaven and earth, and the sovereign ruler over all of it. He is all-powerful, and He is in charge! Dare we stand up and question Him?
Here’s what He had to say to Job:
Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?Job 38:1-7
That passage and the following couple of chapters are some of my favorite in Scripture.
Here are a few insights from commentators on God’s response to Job:
- “The Lord, in this discourse, humbles Job, and brings him to repent of his passionate expressions concerning God’s providential dealings with him; and this he does, by calling upon Job to compare God’s being from everlasting to everlasting, with his own time; God’s knowledge of all things, with his own ignorance; and God’s almighty power, with his own weakness. Our darkening the counsels of God’s wisdom with our folly, is a great provocation to God. Humble faith and sincere obedience see farthest and best into the will of the Lord.” – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
- “There is so much in nature that man knows not and cannot understand, that it is absurd for him to suppose that he can judge aright in matters touching God’s moral government of the world.” – Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
- “This speech is addressed particularly to Job, not only because he is the principal personage referred to in the book, but particularly because he had indulged in language of murmuring and complaint. God designed to bring him to a proper state of mind before he appeared openly for his vindication. It is the purpose of God, in his dealings with his people, “to bring them to a proper state of mind” before he appears as their vindicator and friend, and hence, their trials are often prolonged, and when he appears, he seems at first to come only to rebuke them. Job had indulged in very improper feelings, and it was needful that those feelings should be subdued before God would manifest himself as his friend, and address him in words of consolation.” – Barnes’ Notes
We think we are so important and wise, so strong and long-lasting. We forget easily that we are dust, mere mist of the morning on this earth. Who are we to arrogantly question God’s design?
On the other hand, God has always been and will always be–nothing is strong enough to shake his position of ultimate power and authority over all He has made.
There is a vast difference between questioning (challenging) God’s character and design, and asking questions. He welcomes us when we come to him in humility while trusting in His mercy and grace.
He is not afraid of our heartfelt questions that are shouted up when we feel like we are drowning in the wild seas. “Why, God! What is happening? Where are you?” The writer of Hebrews encourages us with these words: “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:16).
We see the storms of life as overwhelming at times, but He is not even the least bit surprised by any of them!
Years tick by, seasons change, lives come and go. And through it all, God reigns.
Dare I say that storms might even be good now and then? The treetops have been cleaned out of dead twigs and branches, making more room for airflow and new life to spread out.
The storms of life can have the same effect, cleaning things up and helping us to reset our priorities on things that truly matter and hold value far beyond today.
If you are in the midst of a great storm of life, look beyond the clouds to the One who holds you in the palm of His hand. You may not know how things will look tomorrow, but He sees every day of the rest of your life, and even beyond. He has plans for you, my friend! One day you’ll look back on all of this and see His hand at work through everything you’ve been through.
This storm is not the end–there are brighter days ahead!