There are two storms headed towards my state. While everyone is frantically clearing store shelves and filling up gas tanks, I have been doing some reflecting on nature, human nature, and God’s character. It never fails that in times of difficulty we come to God with our list of demands and our plans of how things should turn out. Once the disaster passes we resume our crazy lives and set God on the sidelines until we have another wish list we would like Him to fulfill. I definitely catch myself doing this on a disappointingly consistent basis. I know there is a better way.
Nature can show us an improved way of life. In the beginning we were placed in a garden – to care for the vegetation and animals, yes, but also to learn more about God through will-less beings. I believe that through plants, animals, and other elements of nature we can learn about the natural rhythm that the rest of the living world follows, and we can CHOOSE to align our life to it. I have noticed that plants and animals, for example, exude contentment for how things are in the moment. Unless they are impacted by an outside force, they do not experience stress or worry about what is to come. They know what their purpose is, and they don’t try to change it. Oceans, seasons, and weather also exist in a similar pattern. They obey the scientific laws that have been set for them and in doing so create an environment of stability. What about storms, high waves, droughts, fires, and disease? These are things that nonhumans don’t worry about; instead, they are faced as they come, are adapted to, and life goes on.
Human beings, on the other hand, spend much of their time frantically bustling about, worrying about not being prepared for tomorrow, examining what they did wrong yesterday, stressing about what they are lacking today, and searching for their lost identities. They are certain that if anything can go wrong for them, it will, impatiently tap their fingers against the dashboard at red lights, sway back and forth in the line for the cashier, and twiddle their thumbs as they wait for their microwave dinner to finish heating. Does this sound anything like the morning glory that blooms fresh every morning? Or the cat that is enamored with the ever-elusive bird? Or the bird that greets the sunrise with a song? Or the waves that continually embrace the shoreline? Perhaps human beings have the gifts of a will and a mind to govern it, but do we actually take the time to appreciate that fact?
As these storms approach, something I have absolutely no control over, I am not going to pray for them to be diverted. Instead, I will pray that I will have the strength to be calm if they hit and a peaceful mind that can lean into God so that I don’t become overwhelmed. I want this to be my attitude for every storm that comes my way – natural or spiritual. Just like my animal and plant friends, I don’t know what the next hour will bring so why worry about it? Everything is better when I take the time to do my chores with a song on my lips, a sparkle in my eye, and an attitude that refreshes the world around me. Doing so shows an implicit trust in God and His sovereign will.