It has been a wacky week for weather, with weather in the headlines across the nation. Everything from the unusual to the unbelievable has whipped through our country in the last week. For those undone by damage and destruction, left to clean up and clear out debris, we pray for healing and restoration, courage and fortitude. This excerpt from Weather devotions in the Garden Stories section of God’s Word for Gardeners Bible looks at the epic moments of hail in the Bible, directing us to seek God’s blessing in moving through the mess.
From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people.
Revelation 16:21 NIV
As horrific as the thought of one-hundred-pound hailstones may be, the greater tragedy revealed in this verse from Revelation is the reaction of the people: They cursed God. As they surveyed their ruined fields, the stripped trees, the demolished storehouses and the damaged homes and shops of their community, their hearts turned hard.
Did they call God profane names? Did they vengefully spew lies about the Lord, as if he were unmerciful, perennially angry and coldhearted? These accusations are the opposite of his character (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 86:5); and the Lord repeatedly declares throughout his Word his desire to restore and make things bloom again (Isaiah 35:1 – 2; Jeremiah 30:23 — 31:5).
Now the gardener is the one who has seen everything ruined so many times that (even as his pain increases with each loss) he comprehends — truly knows — that where there was a garden once, it can be again, or where there never was, there can yet be a garden . . . Gardeners are the ones who ruin after ruin get on with the high defiance of nature herself, creating, in the very face of her chaos and tornado, the bower of roses and the pride of irises.
— Henry Mitchell, “On the Defiance of Gardeners,” 1981, quoted by editor Bonnie Marranca, American Garden Writing
The epic hailstorms of life force our reaction, our choice, our response. In the wake of the storms of our lives, are we reverent, acknowledging that the power we have witnessed is greater than our own? Do we hope in God for mercy and deliverance or do we curse God, hardened to his compassion and plan for new growth? Are we truly gardeners or not? A gardener’s demeanor is undeterred by the hailstorm; a gardener keeps growing, accepting calamity armed with a chainsaw, a wheelbarrow and a compost pile, moving forward through the mess, restoring what can be restored, using what is still useful, working however slowly in spite of a heavy heart. A gardener works with deep faith, without haughtiness or indignation, always expectant that life will carry on and bloom again.
Prayer: Lord, I revere your command of the storms and hail. In the wake of destruction, clean up my heart. Heal me of hurt and hardness; keep me from bitter rejection; work in me to ward off cursing. Help me choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19), that I may have your energy and exuberance to cut through debris, stock the woodpile, fill up the compost pile, hope in your deliverance and anticipate the day when the rains are gone and the flowers bloom (Song of Songs 2:11 – 12).
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NIV
Photo Credit: © 2015 Shelley S. Cramm Standing water after a storm