I've seen so many Facebook posts on the recent weather situation we've been experiencing here in the great Northland and none of them are complementary toward winter. As a lifelong northerner, I think I can speak with authority for those who actually love winter. We enjoy the snowfall. We deal with the wind chills. We don't even mind blowing snow... for the most part. Our traditions like Christmas and New Year's don't feel right if Old Man Winter isn't involved somehow. Truth is, when you live in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin - the Upper Midwest - you learn to love the winter. Maybe coexist with winter is a better phrase.
But, really. Enough is enough. Palm Sunday brought five inches of wet snow. It's been brutally cold this entire week. This morning's temperature is 14 above - with the windchill, it's 7 below. And it doesn't appear to be letting up just yet. One more go around on Sunday and Monday with a snow storm zipping through our area - another 1 to 4 inches. I know spring is somewhere out there... beneath the pale moonlight. So, c'mon, man! What's the deal?
Every so often, someone will ask me if there is any pull that I have with the powers that be to change the weather. I know they are joking - kind of. No one's asked me that question recently, but it does make me wonder. How interested is God in our weather patterns and ability or non-ability to deal with them?
As I did a bit of looking at this, there are some interesting discoveries. Such as the connection between bad weather and God's judgment on humankind. Or the times when prayers seem to go unanswered in the midst of climate calamity and distress.
I believe these are valid questions for us to ask. I have always held to the belief that it is perfectly acceptable and right to ask the tough questions that life sometimes presents to us as long as we are prepared for not receiving an answer we might be preconditioned to expect. We can make lighthearted conversation about the weather, but we realize that there are other personal storms of life that people are experiencing - illness, relationship issues, financial crisis, loss of hope - you name it. When it comes to trying to figure out why bad things happen to us, we are sometimes at a loss. I've never had someone come up to me and ask "why are good things happening to me?" - it's always the reverse.
A prolonged winter is annoying and makes for good conversation about our rugged nature. I would hope the same could be said for how we deal with the challenges of life when it comes to putting our faith on the line. For a prolonged illness... an unanswered prayer... a crisis of confidence... a loss of hope... failure to thrive... financial worries... raising children in today's uncertain world... losing faith. Any one of these and more can force us to ask the tough questions, looking for positive answers.
I trust that God is ever present, ever mindful, ever gracious, and ever knowing our needs. I trust that God understands our situation more than we could ever know. And this trust propels me forward to be able to live with peace and joy, no matter what the climate is doing.