By the time these lines appear in print for general distribution the world in these northern climes will be or will have recently been in that period of the year when men turn to such a silly thing as an irrational ground hog for predictions as to the length of the winter that still holds sway over our land at the present time. Maybe it is not that ground hog so much as it is the sun that shines or fails to shine brightly that day. Or perhaps it is even the cloud cover that prevents the seeing of a shadow that determines the weather for the next six weeks. At any rate all kinds of superstitious beliefs will be voiced.
That it might be cloudy over an area of some two, three hundred miles, and all the rest of the country has bright sunshine that, day, would mean that just this particular area will have a different weather pattern for the next four to six weeks, must not be considered. It spoils the fun of dreaming and havingthings in which to put our trust. After all it is more delightful for the flesh to live in the fear of things than in the fear of the Lord. It seems more rational for this fallen man to look to a ground hog than to an all-wise and sovereign God. It is more flattering to the pride of that depraved man to depend even upon such an irrational beast’s antics than upon a mighty and holy Creator Who must be loved and served with all our heart and soul and strength and with all our life and possessions. And we would rather make a hog our god than to be subject to a jealous God Who visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Him. It is more enjoyable and less humiliating—so the corrupted mind of man reasons—to worship the creature rather than the Creator. After all, we do have some control over that creature. And we can kill him if we like. If he bothers us, we can get rid of him. But a mighty God Who controls all things and upon whom we depend for every breath of life is a threat to our carnal joy that we like to reason away or banish from our thoughts.
O, indeed, there are signs in the creation God has made that do indicate a change in the weather. There are signs that winter’s grip upon us is slowly slipping away. (And even that statement is not the language of faith. It is not winter’s grip that is upon us. And it is not that the grip of God upon us in the blasting wind, the severe cold and driving snow is slipping. It is God who controls and sends all these things. And it is this same God Who changes the seasons and the weather for us by a sovereign decree and an almighty hand. It is not winter’s grip that lessens, it is God Who changes these things for us in faithfulness to His promise given to Noah that seed time and harvest, winter and summer would come in their proper order as long as the earth would stand.) But there are signs which will indicate to us that God is changing the weather picture for us and the seasons as well. As a child we were always taught to say, “Red in the morning is sailor’s fair warning; red at night is sailor’s delight.” Jesus also rebuked the unbelieving Jews in Matthew 16:2, 3, “When in the evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” Indeed God gives signs in the sky of what He intends to do next. Today meteorologists can warn us that conditions are such that in a certain area tornadoes are apt to be spawned. No, they do not know whether they will or not. They cannot tell just where in this wide area such a tornado may form and where it will strike. But there are signs that they can read which indicate that such violent storms are a distinct possibility. Of course you never hear these meteorologists declare that, the Lord willing, a tornado might appear in such an area. How strange that sounds even to our ears! The Lord willing, a storm of fierce destructive powers might strike this region or that!
We are accustomed to use that expression for pleasant experiences. The Lord willing, we will live and make a safe journey to see our loved ones. The Lord willing, we will live to see our 80th or maybe 90th birthday this year. The Lord willing, we will graduate from high school, college, seminary or celebrate our 20th, our 25th year in the ministry of God’s Word. But to say, The Lord willing, destruction shall come and death shall strike us down, does not sound so good to our ears. But it is true nevertheless. All things come by His appointment. It is always His will that is executed. “The Lord reigneth: let the people tremble: He sitteth between the cherubim; let the earth be moved,” Psalm 99:1. And He rules the sky. The weather is His concern and His work, Not the ground hog, not the sun or the cloudy cover determines the length of our winter, but the God Who made and controls these things. He has them in His hand, and He uses them as He sees fit. The Lord willing, it will be an early spring with balmy winds and pleasant days. But the Lord willing, it will be a long winter and a cold, uncomfortable spring just as well. And if the Lord is willing to give us just such a spring, there is nothing that you or I can do about it. Indeed it is an ungodly statement that everybody talks about the weather but no one does anything about it. However do not forget that no one does anything about it exactly because no one is able to do a single thing about it. The weather is God’s servant, His tool which He uses as it pleases Him.
In fact the weather has played an important part in the lives of God’s people and in the history of His Church here below. God poured forth a torrent of rain and opened the windows of heaven to send a flood through which He saved His Church from the ungodly world. For Noah was saved BY water IN the ark. The Lord was willing to send such a terrible destructive power and to turn it loose upon the first world. And the Lord was willing to stop that rain after it had accomplished His good purpose. When it pleased Him the sun stood still and the moon remained in its place while Israel fought victoriously against the enemy. He sent hail to kill the enemies of His Church. Twice He sent violent storms upon the Sea of Galilee, while His Son tabernacled amongst us, in order that He might teach us important truths for our comfort. A mighty tempest was sent and was pleasing unto Him while His Son was fast asleep in the ship with His disciples. Sometime later a powerful contrary wind made the trip of the disciples alone impossible. They rowed all night long and got nowhere. They could not reach the other shore till Jesus came walking upon the water and spoke words of peace unto them. A deceptive calm prevailed, and then a roaring tempest buffeted the ship on which Paul was traveling to Rome. The Lord willing, that storm came. And because the Lord willed it so, that calm prevailed so that the captain of the ship made the foolish decision to try to get to a better haven for the winter. Indeed, the weather is an important thing. For it is the work of our God. And “this God is our God forever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death,” Psalm 48:14.
Whether it will be cold or hot, whether we shall have weather that is pleasant or unpleasant for the flesh is the decision of the Living God. The whether of our weather is expressed in that statement: The Lord willing. Think it over. And whether you agree or not, the whether of all our weather, is the whether of God’s will. If you do not agree, try to change it. You will fail miserably. Whether we like it or not, we have absolutely nothing to say about the weather. God decides and we receive.
But wait a moment. Whether we like it or not, we have absolutely nothing to say about the weather. Indeed, but we do say something about it, do we not? We have absolutely nothing to say about it in the sense that we do not have our say as to how it will be or what it will be. We cannot say what we shall receive. And we have absolutely no right to say what it shall be. We have no say in the matter at all in that respect. But we say an awfully lot about it. We grumble and complain. We find fault with it and speak evil of it. And in it all we rebel against God. The Lord willing, we have miserable and uncomfortable weather. And we find fault with His will. So bold and proud we are that we dare to do that. Even in such a matter as the weather, over which we have absolutely no control, we find it so hard to say, Not my will but Thy will be done. We behave as though the world turns on us, as though it exists solely for our good. Our attitude towards the Living God is as those who consider Him to be our servant instead of our being His servants. We were created to be His friend-servants, who could and did enjoy His covenant friendship by the tree of life only as long as we obeyed Him as His servants. And we were servants of the Living God who were blessed with His friendship and covenant fellowship. But now, after we broke this relationship and became enemy-rebels, we go out in all our thinking and activity by nature from the principle that He is our servant and exists solely for our good. And if He does not will that which we deem to be good and conducive to our pleasure and joy, we curse Him, we blaspheme His name and talk exceedingly proudly.
You do not?
Come, come, commit not that additional sin of trying to hide your sins. That likewise is not in His fear. But examine your own soul and observe carefully your own speech the first little bit of inclement weather we get. And remember that when we complain, we are complaining against the God who is pleased to send us exactly that weather.
Feel the discomfort? Of course. And we must also. But in His fear we do not find fault with God in these storms and bitter cold, these unrelenting rains and burning heat. We find the fault in ourselves and we humble ourselves before God and say, Yea, Lord, shouldest Thou deal with me according to what I deserve, then these calamities and miseries are yet so very minor. Yea, I know these things and all misery are in the world because of sin. But I flee to the cross with the confidence that I am redeemed from the curse. The Lord was willing to send His Son into the storm of hell that I might presently live in the wonder of the heavenly Canaan, the Paradise of Christ. It will always be fair weather there.
Whether I shall enjoy that fair weather depends on whether He wills to bring me there. Whether I shall enjoy the comfort of belonging in that fair land depends upon whether He gives me grace to believe. Indeed, the whether of all my joy in the life to come and all my peace and comfort in this present life depends upon His will. How wonderful those words: The Lord willing.
Walk in His fear and you shall have its joy.