Before I moved here, I never thought much of the weather. If it rains, it rains. If it snows, it snows. But living here for the past three months, I have realized that there is an important relationship that has been lost in urban centers between weather, life, and livelihood.
Here if it rains or snows, it impacts what happens. It impacts whether harvest can go on, or if people can or can’t go to work. Farmers and ranchers flip on the weather to figure out when to plant and when to mow, or what to do with their livestock. It is also true of people in other industries whether it’s construction, or power, or even if you should go get groceries before the weather changes. People here watch the weather with invested interest.
And as we experience our first real snowfall I am reminded of a passage from Isaiah:
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
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 succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
God is the one who brings the rain, and the snow, and they are with purpose. In the city, it’s easy to think they are arbitrary. At best the snow and rain are used to clear the streets of that certain funk that is typical of city streets. Here, it is by them that things grow or fade, by what things can be done and what things must wait for fairer weather. So here, I have learned to keep my eye to the sky and bookmark weather.com on my internet browser. It matters.
The same is true of God’s word. It is not arbitrary. It comes with purpose. We can look to it to figure out what to do and when to do it. What’s the word today? What is God calling me to do? Or even the stereotypically but rightfully intended, “What Would Jesus Do?”
God every day, sends his word but in many ways, I think we have often approached it as a city person does the weather, with a sort of grab-a-coat-running-out-the-door-mentality, at least I know I have. It’s something we may notice, or hear, but rarely impacts life beyond the mundane. God as hobby comes to mind.
And yet God’s word goes beyond hobby perhaps even to hope. For the folks that Isaiah is talking to, God’s word meant freedom from captivity in Babylon. It meant a restored relationship to the God of everything, including the one who makes it snow and rain. It meant hope for the nation of Israel.
For us, as we look at the snow, even as it turns brown and is rolled over in the street, know God has sent it with purpose just as has given his word to us with purpose. We have been called children of God – and God isn’t finished with us yet.
Also, go build a snow man! Seriously.