If clouds are full of water,
they pour rain on the earth.
Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the place where it falls, there it will lie.
Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things.
Sow your seed in the morning,
and at evening let your hands not be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
whether this or that,
or whether both will do equally well.
- Ecclesiastes 11:3-6
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
- Matthew 16:1-4
“Very likely, what with enemies, and mountains, and rivers to cross, and losing our way, and next to nothing to eat, and sore feet, we’ll hardly notice the weather.”
- C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair
The morning that I wrote this, the C. S. Lewis website that always starts my day with a random quote came up with this one. This morning is crisp. The temperature may not be out of the 50s (Fahrenheit) today. It feels like Fall is here. The television is advertising all the locations where Pumpkin Spice foods and drinks can be purchased. And just as I typed the last sentence, I had to interrupt writing to do a little research. For all you ‘guys’ out there, look online, there are a lot of recipes for Pumpkin Spice Bacon. Just passing on a Public Service Announcement.
But the strange thing about Fall these days is that when this post is being read, initially, the weather is predicted to be in the 70s, and will have been that warm for a few days. I know, they have what is called Indian Summer, or has that been changed to Native American Summer? But what we used to call Indian Summer was when it had been cool for a few weeks and we were used to the cooler weather, then the warmth returned, the jacket was unnecessary by the time you got to work and you wished you had worn cooler clothing by mid-morning. Another Public Service Announcement, do not wear flannel until you know it will be cool all day!!
But now, we do not even get used to the cool before the warm comes back. Instead of having Indian Summer in a few days, I think we are experiencing Faux Fall now.
But I have written about my wife’s and my incompatibility in recent years. As we have gotten older, she has gotten colder while I am feeling like I am in an oven when the weather reaches the low 70s. I am enjoying this crisp air, and if I went to the bedroom right now, my wife probably has the space heater turned on, wearing a sweater, two pairs of socks, and under the covers with an extra blanket on top. And I turned up the thermostat just for her. Just not enough. We would have to be rich to afford the gas bill if I made the house warm enough for her which is impossible. She has cold hands when it is in the 90s.
But on this crisp morning, I am thinking of friends who complain about how the winters are so long where they live. I am also thinking about other friends and family that do not feel alive unless the weather is in the 80s or 90s. It seems that the present weather is never right.
It’s like when you are in the military. Your favorite duty station is either the one that you just left or the one where you are about to be going. It is never right now. Why is it that we do not seem to like the weather, or if we do like the weather, we lament that it will not last long? I am already lamenting the return of the heat, but the air is still crisp right now.
In one sense, Solomon is telling us in the Scripture from Ecclesiastes that the weather is above our pay grade, so to speak. We plant our crops and tend them, hoping that God brings the rain at the right time and then there is a gap in the rain so that we don’t sink the tractor in the mud trying to harvest the crop. Okay, they did not have tractors in Solomon’s time, but I hope you get the idea. We can complain about the weather, but we cannot do much about it.
And in tying the C. S. Lewis quote to that, why is my wife so cold today when she has not left the confines of the house and I increased the temperature on each thermostat by five degrees? She should be warmer than yesterday. If we focus on our tasks for the day as the quote hints, we will not notice the weather. Okay, if there is two feet of snow on top of the car, you will notice that while shoveling it out, and if there is a hurricane coming, you should notice so that you can be prepared. But outside those extremes, we can function quite well regardless of the weather.
I titled the post “Old Man Weather” to sound a little bit like “Old Man Winter.” I love the winter, but I am not beckoning it to come early. I like the weather this morning just as much, and with the leaves changing, even better. And not having any trees in our yard? Now that’s the best – no raking leaves.
Maybe what this post is about is that we should see the good in each weather situation. With those who have prepared for a half dozen tropical storms of one strength or another this year, you might be wishing for a bit less “weather,” but cooler weather is coming and the tropics will settle down. The Jetstream will eventually shift and cooler, wetter air will come to the west coast of the US. I am not belittling the damage due to natural disasters, although some of the wildfires have been manmade. But there is purpose in such storms. There is renewal. It is when that natural disaster meets what man has made that the issues start to rise.
And for our spiritual lives, there is a test of faith. Those who have faith in God, who is in control, will grow in strength during the hard times, while others tend to fall apart.
So, if you do not like the weather today, instead of complaining, ask God, “What can I learn from the weather today?”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.