My daughter Susannah is almost two. I love her just about to death. One of her favourite things to do (just like her daddy) is to go outside in the rain. It thrills her to no end to run around and splash in the puddles and get soaked by the falling rain.
A few nights ago when it was raining, we stayed outside and talked about where the rain comes from, who makes it, and who sends it. The answer, of course, is that the rain comes down from heaven and is sent by God. Throughout the Scriptures rain is a picture of God’s faithful provision even for unfaithful people.
Like most conversations with Susannah, I really didn’t think she was listening too carefully. She was wanting to get down and run around some more, not sit with daddy and philosophize about the biblical-theological import of rain. But as it turns out, she was actually listening closer than I thought.
Today, as we were outside (playing in the rain again), I pointed to ‘Auntie Janis’ car’ and said, ‘Look, Susie, it’s wet!’ As she always does, she reached out and touched the car to make sure daddy wasn’t pulling her leg. She looked at her now wet hand, then at me, and said, ‘Daddy, did Jesus do that?’
It’s a funny thing how words just sometimes have more impact when a child speaks them.
The rain we were experiencing today was a result of Hurricane Ike. The answer to Susie’s question is the answer that so many people need to hear in this world today. ‘Yes, Jesus did that.’
Ah, to have the faith of a child. For us adults, there are a million follow-up questions. We are quick to try to justify God and show all the reasons why we would deny the plain truth that Jesus sent the storm: he would never desire suffering; he can never cause evil; he would never want anything bad to happen. And it goes on and on.
But the reality that we must face is that God controls the weather. God appeared to Job in a whirlwind. When Elijah prayed, it didn’t rain for 3.5 years. Jesus calmed the stom on the Sea of Galilee with zero effort. He reigns providentially over all creation and all weather-patterns. Whether you want to say ‘God sent it’ or ‘God didn’t stop it’ really makes no difference (although one is much truer than the other). Either way, it’s from the hand of God.
When God sends storms, it is mercy. It is mercy because it proclaims to all that the real storm of final judgement is coming. None of us can escape it. No early warning system or evacuation plan could ever save us from this. This very minor, very localized display of the power and the fury of God should cause us all to question, ‘Am I prepared to face the real thing?’
Survival kits, flashlights, thousands of jugs of bottled water will do us no good. When the end comes (and it will come in a flash, without TV networks showing us radar images days and weeks ahead of time), the only thing that will matter is whether we’ve trusted in Christ or something else. The storm is coming, and only the Christian, with his house built on the rock of Christ’s teachings will be able to withstand it. When the fury of God’s wrath beats on our shores, and the anger of his judgement floods our houses, only the Christian will escape.
The Christian is the one for whom there is no more wrath. All of it–the full storm front–has all been borne on Christ, and we are safe. The fury of the storm has been sated, and only the peace and calmness of God’s goodness remains for us.
Praise God for his merciful reminders in storms. Praise him for his mercies in Christ.