Journey with Jonah – #2

“The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.” (Jonah 1:4)

JonahThe National Weather Service sometimes miss their weather predictions, but they can always explain what is happening. High and low pressure systems, storm fronts, arctic blasts, inversion layers, and tropical jet streams. Everything has a rational reason behind it.

What the NWS cannot predict or explain is divine intervention.

In the Bible, God sends drought and rain. He hurls storms in judgment and calms storms just as easily. Sometimes He delivers a withering and burning sun. Other times he afflicts people with twisters and destructive winds. He uses weather to catch the attention of people.

Even Jonah’s story is replete with divine orchestration of the weather. As the reluctant (and sleeping) prophet tries to flee from God, the Lord creates a swirling and threatening cauldron around the ship, tossing it like a toy in a bathtub.

When did we last think of God controlling the weather, specifically to teach us something about Himself? In California we’ve been praying for rain for the past three years, but how has the drought drawn us closer to God?

In an age when we can build waterproof homes, pipe water for hundreds of miles to meet our domestic demand, hunker down with plenty of food and warmth if we get snowed in, and turn on air-conditioning if it’s hot outside, weather has become an inconvenience rather than a spiritual tutor.

Are we missing something? Has our Western affluence and convenience blinded us to God at work in and behind the natural world around us? Perhaps so.

In Jonah’s story, it didn’t take the sailors any time at all to each cry out to their own god (1:5). When they finally woke Jonah and confronted him, he did not hesitate. “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you.” (1:12)

Perhaps their spiritual sensitivity challenges our insensitivity.

We watch the news for updates on hurricanes, tornadoes, and El Nino, but few of us imagine God stirring it up. Does this speak to a larger issue?

If God no longer wields the weather (in our minds), does He really manage the natural world at all?

The first chapter of Jonah’s story turns out to be less about ancient superstition and more about modern blindness. Let’s pray for eyes to see. Perhaps today we’ll find the world around us — the sunsets and weather systems, the flora and fauna — really is a divine classroom.

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7 Responses to Journey with Jonah – #2

  1. sjs says:

    Last month, outside my front door, stood a thorny small stubble. Today, like overnight, it is a tall lush green with beautiful pink roses. He provides from the most unlikely.

    • David Timms says:

      The garden is indeed a spiritual classroom. God’s wonderous work there is but a minor foreshadowing of the far greater work He does in “thorny small stubble” lives.

  2. Scott Wallace says:

    In the Northwest the rain can become depressing by this time of the year. We average just 64 days of sunshine. But God has taught me to wait patiently that even though the days are physically dark, the Sun is visible just two miles straight up and soon God will penetrate the darkness with his light. When it comes physically I am almost giddy. When he breaks through spiritually I experience the same. But mostly I’ve learned patience both physically and spiritually. Ironically Seattle sells more sunglasses per captia then any other city in the States. i think it’s because it’s been so long since we’ve seen the sun we can’t remember where we put them so we have to go buy more 🙂

  3. Elaine Steil says:

    Jonah, what a great book of the bible. God uses what he wants when he wants where he wants, including weather. I had an opportunity to share with my little grandkids when a tornado warning was prevalent, God is bigger than any storm. Yes, weather channel’s are good,helpful, but we know who is in charge. Thank you David for a great study, looking forward to reading daily.

  4. Janet Sigsworth says:

    Oh if only we would practice having open eyes to see the divine classroom of God’s creation! How differently we would live and how many missed lessons and blessings we would receive. Lord, give your people eyes to see!

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