The residents of our city experienced strong tornadoes yesterday for the second time in a week. We are far more noted for the "straight-line" tempests of hurricanes, so the twisters have caused some nervous moments for all. Those who suffered damage in the storm face clean up and recovery challenges similar to the aftermath of the late summer winds that often blow in our area.
"Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps: fire and hail; snow and vapor, stormy wind fulfilling His word" (Psalm 148:6-7).
What particular "word" does a "stormy wind" fulfill? In the general sense, we might deduce that this refers to the Bible's message of God's involvement in a fallen world, characterized by a cursed ground and an atmosphere governed (under God's ultimate authority) by "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). The entrance of sin into the human race through Adam brought necessary thorns into our earthly experience for the purpose of revealing our need for the Lord's redemption and rescue. "Before I was afflicted, I went astray. But now I have kept Thy word" (Psalm 119:67). Stormy winds certainly comprise part of this loving revelation, revealing the truth of helplessness in the face of life's uncertain realities.
In specific terms, we rarely know the whys and wherefores of God's determinations and allowances. Some people experience the brunt of storms, while others escape. It is a risky business to decide that we know the specific reasons for such mystery. I try to avoid pronouncements of judgment or bestowals of mercy based upon evaluations of people's response to God, or lack thereof. Stormy winds and other calamities impact the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). In our area, hurricanes have destroyed the homes and taken the lives of Christians who were doubtless on their knees praying at the time of destruction. Conversely, storms often spare those who might be cursing Heaven for the fearful tempest. Who can understand or offer explanation for such an enigma? Personally, I find that far beyond my ability to comprehend.
We do know that while we often don't perceive what God is doing, we can be sure that He is doing something. "God... worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:3; 11). Moreover, "as for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31). Our Lord weaves His determinations and allowances into a fabric that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, while working "all things together for good" in the lives of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Nothing happens in our lives outside the scope of God's wisdom and power to coordinate "all things" into our best interest, defined in Scripture as believers being conformed to the spiritual and moral image of the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:29).
Tornadoes on Christmas Day, 2012. How did such "stormy wind fulfill His word?" I don't know. I just know that it did, in accordance with the Psalmist's declaration. We can trust God in both blessing and calamity, and in those times when we cannot understand His hand, we can trust His heart. Again, "His way is perfect." Therein, our souls find rest in calm and storm, knowing that both fulfill His word.
"He commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves are thereof are still." (Psalm 107:25; 29)