“Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm…” (Job 38:25)
Humans have long tried to replace the Creator with the created. They have bowed down to pieces of wood; sacrificed to pieces of stone; and cried out for help to the sun, the moon and the stars—all in vain.
The scientific age is supposed to have done away with superstition. It has not. Horoscopes and good luck charms seem as popular as ever. If God does not occupy the throne in a person’s heart, something else will. Yet, any replacement for the Holy One will always be a fake. This remains true even if the substitute seems to operate with force uncontrollable.
Nature, at times, appears to have such force. When the forecast calls for threatening weather, we take appropriate action. We have seen the damage caused by lightning and tornados. We know all about hurricanes. If we have not lived through them, we have seen the pictures.
An old commercial said, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” The ad may strike us as humorous, but a part of us knows that nature can be deadly. If it comes in the form of a rain shower, we might just stay indoors or get out that umbrella. If it comes as a hurricane, we may truly feel at its mercy.
When storms develop over an ocean, millions begin watching their projected paths. Estimates, guesstimates, and spaghetti models are followed closely. A shift in a high-pressure system, an increase in water temperature, or the appearance of wind shear can move the storm further away or bring it right on top of us. Some say this is Mother Nature at work.
Nature is indeed real. Mother Nature is not. Nature is not a being. It has no control over itself. It does not hear us. It does not care about us. God does.
If we ask, “Who knows what path a storm will take? Who can control it?” the answer is simple: Our Savior God. He brings storms into existence. He sets their limits. He sets their paths.
Our loving God rules all of nature for the benefit of those who place in him their faith and trust.
We would not be wrong to carry this truth over to all of the storms of life. Accident, sickness, failure, and heartache can be as devastating as roaring wind and pounding rain. The Maker of heaven and earth is in control of these storms, too.
We recall when a fierce storm at sea once caught the Son of God sleeping in a boat. His companions included seasoned sailors. When they looked at the height of the waves and heard the howl of the wind, they panicked. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He did. Even asleep, he was in control. Then he showed them to what degree he was in charge of nature: “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (Mark 4:38,39)
Children of the heavenly Father are not at the mercy of anything but his mercy. It is a level of compassion so high that it cannot be measured; so strong that it cannot be overcome.
Jesus had not come to earth merely to impress people by having wind and waves obey. His mission had a greater goal. He came to enable us to become children of his own Father. He bought our adoption with his lifeblood. He taught us who we really are when he taught us to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven…” To him belong the kingdom, the power, and the glory.
We can say of ourselves, “God’s own Child, I gladly say it! I was baptized into Christ.” I know God is now my Father! Nature is not my mother.
We can sing:
Be still, my soul; the Lord is on your side; Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to your God to order and provide; in every change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; your best, your heavenly friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul; your God will undertake to guide the future as he has the past.
Your hope, your confidence, let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the wind and waves still know His voice who ruled them while he lived below. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida