September 14th, 2012
In Wind and Storm
What a year it’s been for weather - hurricanes, blizzards, torrential rains, hail storms, floods, tornadoes! As the old saying goes, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” With all the advances of modern science, we still can’t even forecast the weather accurately, but God not only knows about the weather, He controls it!
Even raindrops illustrate His love and careful design. Tiny water droplets stick to particles of dust, pollen, salt, or other debris, growing larger until they finally become heavy enough to fall. Fortunately, raindrops disintegrate if they get much over one-quarter of an inch in size. God has designed the physical properties such that gravity, surface tension and water density to interact in just the right way to produce rain that normally does not damage delicate plants (or human skulls – imagine being hit by a raindrop the size of a bowling ball!).
Gentle rains water the earth and cleanse the air, but what about the more violent storms? Thunder and lightning certainly do illustrate the power of God (and often encourage us to pray!), but they also perform a practical physical purpose. Lightning serves as one of the major ways in which atmospheric nitrogen is converted to a form usable by plants. (The other way is through nitrogen-fixing bacteria in root nodules of legumes.) According to Donald DeYoung, worldwide storms produce 100 million tons of useful nitrogen compounds each year, up to one-half of all the usable nitrogen in the soil. (By the way, he also reports that at least 2000 thunderstorms are occurring somewhere around the world at any given moment!)
Scripture indicates in numerous places that God often uses weather to discipline His people or punish disobedience. Sometimes He withholds rain, in order to call His people back to Himself. At other times He brings violent storms to get their attention (remember Jonah?) or to demonstrate His power over nature and false gods (e.g. the plagues of Egypt).
Science has become for many a “false god,” and yet science has been able to do very little about the weather. The Lord asked Job, “Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings that they may go, and say unto thee, ‘Here we are?’” How small and helpless we are in the face of a storm, yet Jesus stilled the storm and calmed the raging sea. What a mighty God is He!
By Dave Nutting
Originally published in the July/August 1993 Think and Believe newsletter.
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