By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.
They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, he causes it to happen.
In his book, Is God Really in Control?, Jerry Bridges recounts a story amazingly similar to the events of this past week. Here is an excerpt with his commentary that I believe to be really helpful when thinking about God’s power over nature and providence in our lives.
From the chapter “God’s Power Over Nature,” Bridges writes:
One night while working on this chapter, I watched the evening news on television. One of the top stories was about several powerful tornadoes that swept across central Mississippi killing seven people, injuring at least 145 more, and leaving nearly 500 families homeless. As I watched the scenes of people sifting through the rubble of what had been their homes, my heart went out to them. I thought to myself, “Some of those people undoubtedly follow Christ. What would I say to them about God’s sovereignty over nature? Do I really believe it myself at a time such as this? Wouldn’t it be easier to just accept Rabbi Kushner’s statement that it is simply an act of nature-a morally blind nature that churns along following its own laws? Why bring God into chaos and suffering such as this?”
But God brings Himself into these events. He said in Isaiah 45:7, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” God Himself accepts the responsibility, so to speak, of disasters. He does more than accept the responsibility; He actually claims it. In effect, God says, “I, and I alone, have the power and authority to bring about both prosperity and disaster, both weal and woe, both good and bad.”
This is a difficult truth to accept as you watch people sift through the rubble of their homes or-more to the point-if you are the one sifting through the rubble of your home. . . . We obviously do not understand why God creates disaster, or why He brings it to one town and not to another. We recognize, too, that just as God sends His sun and rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous, so He also sends the tornado, or the hurricane, or the earthquake on both. . . . God’s sovereignty over nature does not mean that Christians never encounter the tragedies of natural disasters. Experience and observation clearly teach otherwise.
God’s sovereignty over nature does mean that, whatever we experience at the hand of the weather or forces of nature, all circumstances are under the watchful eye and sovereign control of our God.
– Jerry Bridges, Is God Really in Control: Trusting God in a World of Hurt (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2006), 59-60. Emphasis mine.