By Kathy Teel
I’ve been indoors over 24 hours, because it snowed here in the Ozarks. One thing I love about living here is that we get ALL the weather, from earthquakes to heat waves to the whipping ends of Gulf hurricanes. We’re probably most affected by ice storms (ie, the Great Ice Storm of 2007) and tornadoes (such as the Joplin tornado of 2011), but if it happens in, or, or to the Earth, it generally comes here.
I don’t like for people to get hurt, and sometimes when these events occur, they do. But I do love that we have no control over these things. The tornado isn’t going to change its plans for you, but you sure as heck had better change your plans for the tornado. And it’s not up to you whether you’ll have school or work on a given weekday; it’s up to the blizzard.
Scripture tells us “the wind blows where it wills” (John 3:8), and that’s certainly been the case here. This storm blew in from the western US, and it didn’t even check to see whether it would be convenient. It’s not, and that’s the blessing it brings.
Nature doesn’t care whether it’s convenient, and she doesn’t consult our daytimers when she blows in. She just forces us stop. And we can’t help but notice that the world doesn’t think we’re at its center. And though we tend to anthropomorphize nature as a sentient being, a mother, nature’s events aren’t personal—she’s not doing it to you. She’s just doing it. And all we can do is respond.
Snow days aren’t only gifts to schoolchildren. Snow days, storms, earthquakes—all of these are God’s reminders that not everything is about us, and that some of the things we feel are so pressing truly can wait. When the weather forces us to stop, to make choices we’d never make on a normal day, we learn how to be humble, and we’re reminded that we’re not the center of the universe.
It’s nice to know there’s at least one thing in the world we don’t have to control. We couldn’t if we tried.
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Kathy Teel is a former pastor and now works with learning disabled teenagers. She is also a freelance writer and editor.