February 15, 2017
Wednesday, Week Six, Year I
Genesis 8:6-22; Psalm 116;Mark 8:22-26
Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
We all live in some fear of “natural disasters” — floods, hurricanes and the like. Since these are natural, they are not disasters in and of themselves, but only disastrous for any people who happen to have installed themselves where they are bound to occur. We know that the natural movements under the earth will eventually cause an earthquake along the San Andreas fault in California. People who choose to live there are consciously taking the risk. Some say there is more risk driving on a Los Angeles freeway, and they may be right. But accidents there are called “human errors,” while a “natural disaster” is not an error at all, neither human nor divine.
The point of today’s reading from Genesis 8:6-22 is that there is a governance of the universe. The natural things we count on are under God’s control and will keep happening:
As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.
We take all that for granted. But the Scripture tells us God has guaranteed it. There are laws that govern physical and chemical operations. Everything is not so haphazard and random that we can never know what to expect. Nor is God ever going to fly into a rage and just let nature go wild. When nature appears to us to be going wild, it only means we have not yet figured out the game plan.
Scripture adds another dimension to reality that we might not notice or stay aware of. We take the sun’s rising for granted, or explain it by the earth’s revolution. And we tend to stop there. Through God’s word — and specifically this passage from Genesis — we are alerted to the truth that nature would not have any laws unless God made them. And if nature follows those laws, it is because there is Someone in control who is consistent in making things operate the way he designed them to.
Humans appear to be the exception, but even when we disobey what God commands and act contrary to our own natures, God is consistent in letting freedom be freedom and leaving our wills free to exercise it. One reason he is so tolerant of us and refrains from canceling out creation because of our abuse of it is that our inclination to sin is a part of the equation he has recognized and accepted from the day of the Fall:
Never again will I doom the earth because of humankind, since the desires of humans’ hearts are evil from the start [either of an individual’s life or of the human race]; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings as I have done.
It isn’t as if our sins were a surprise to God! So his love should not surprise us. The point is that God loves us as we are, right now, in spite of our sins. He is as consistent in that as he is in making the sun rise every morning and set every evening. “Summer and winter, day and night” will cease before God’s love and care for us will. Isaiah tells us (49:15) that God is more consistent than nature.
Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
By reading God’s word we keep in touch with the basic truths of life. That is a reason to do it. “Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord” — and trust in his enlightenment.
Meditation: Am I aware that God’s fidelity is the source of stability in nature?