A Snowy October Pondering

October 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

The N train platform around midnight

As you can see by the photo on the left, October threw New York City a curve-ball. Most of us in the 5 boroughs woke up today to snow gently falling outside. I for one was happy, but I spent the rest of the day listening to friends talk about how much they hate the snow. The general consensus seemed to be that snow is undesirable because, although beautiful, it makes life difficult.  “It’s too cold,” one said. “I hate how dark it gets and how wet it is. I hate walking in the snow,” said another.

Yet most of my friends know that I enjoy weather that is dark and includes the elements. I love walking down the street late at night and feeling the harsh wind on my face, blowing snow into my eyes. I leave my umbrella indoors when it rains hard because I enjoy the unobstructed view of all that we’ve made being consumed in nature.

I realized tonight though as I trudged through the wind, water, and snow, that walking through the elements is something I love for more than the natural beauty present. I love fighting through the elements because it is, as so many complain, uncomfortable. There is something powerful about it that is simply much bigger than me. It is uncomfortable, mysterious, alluring. But what is it?

I have, for a long time, told friends that “God is in the rain.” (cliche, I know). The typical response is generally a smirk or a quick reminder that God isn’t “in” nature. God isn’t a tree, nor is He rain or snow. Of course, I agree. Yet when I let myself be consumed in the darkness, rain, the icy chill of the winter wind, or the breaking waves of the Pacific ocean, what comes to mind is Psalm 18:6-15, not some pagan philosophy. The psalm reads:

6 In my distress I called to the LORD; 
   I cried to my God for help. 
From his temple he heard my voice; 
   my cry came before him, into his ears. 
7 The earth trembled and quaked, 
   and the foundations of the mountains shook; 
   they trembled because he was angry. 
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils; 
   consuming fire came from his mouth, 
   burning coals blazed out of it. 
9 He parted the heavens and came down; 
   dark clouds were under his feet. 
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; 
   he soared on the wings of the wind. 
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— 
   the dark rain clouds of the sky. 
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, 
   with hailstones and bolts of lightning. 
13 The LORD thundered from heaven; 
   the voice of the Most High resounded.[d] 
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, 
   with great bolts of lightning he routed them. 
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed 
   and the foundations of the earth laid bare 
at your rebuke, LORD, 
   at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

The bright, midday sun does not, it seems, hold sole claim to display God’s character. God is in the clash and clamor. He falls with the blankets of pounding rain. He makes “darkness His covering.”  It is this aspect of God’s character that I find amazing: raw power, bigger than my problems, my complaints, my small worries. Bigger and more mysterious than my dreams or inner feelings.

God is in the wind that whips my face. He is in the rain that soaks me to the bone. He is in the darkness and the fog, and He is speaking. He is saying, “I am God, and you are not. I am in control. Let go.”

His message is, ultimately, an embrace of love and reality. Undeniable. Sometimes uncomfortable. Ultimately inescapable, and yet, very freeing.

The cold, wind, and discomfort is worth it, because it reminds that someone bigger is in control.




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