A few years ago I was reviewing the results of an exam with a specialist physician I hd been seeing. He was showing me pictures that he had taken of my guts to which I responded, “Yuk.” He quickly shifted his gaze from the pictures to me and said, “Hey – this the handiwork of God.” Then he went back to studying the pictures.
It is a sad thing when pastor has to be reminded to marvel at God’s creation. What we can observe about our bodies and the world around us is an expression of our creator, who is the ultimate designer, artist, and wise Lord of all.
But what about the weather? Here in Indiana and Illinois we get many gray sky days year round and snow and cold in the winter. And each time there is new snow or another run of cold weather, many people freely despise the weather. From folks I talk to at the gym, to people at church, to people in the store, I hear people vent their hatred for cold and snow. What I am talking about is not voicing the annoyance that we all have over cold and snow as it frustrates our driving and gives us the shivers when we go out for the mail. Rather, what I am talking about is a real venting of hatred and anger at the weather. Until recently, the reaction in my mind has always been, “So move! If you don’t like the mid-west, leave!” But since my visit with the doctor and his pictures of my guts, I am more inclined to think, “This cold and snow is the handiwork of God. He created it. He sovereignly chose it for today. Yes, it is cold and sometimes inconveniences us, but God chose it for us, and despising what God does is to question his design, disparage his art, reject his wisdom, and rebel against his lordship over creation.”
Consider the following verses about snow (all from the ESV).
God controls it:
Psalm 14:15-18: “He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. 16 He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. 17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? 18 He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.”
Job 3:6: “For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.”
Psalm 147:7-8: “Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, 8 fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!”
It symbolizes purity and holiness:
Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
Daniel 7:9: “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.”
Revelation 1:14: “The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,”
It reminds us of the unfailing effectiveness of God’s Word:
Isaiah 55:10-11: “‘For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.'”
Let us all be careful about how we speak of the weather that God chooses to give. Despising his choices is to call into question his judgement, love, authority. We all have our preferences for weather, but holding nasty attitudes about weather we do not like is a horrible witness.