Study: Trusting God, Ch. 6

(In continuation with  my “journaling” homework for our church’s Trusting God Even When Life Hurts [Jerry Bridges] study).

“Complaining about the weather seems to be a favorite American pastime.”

–Jerry Bridges

Flashback to 2011:

This April is much damper than the previous April. Why, I remember going to class in shorts, or 3/4 sleeves, or flip-flops. But this April — ha! It’s almost Easter and I’m still huddling deeper into my Columbia fleece at the bus stop — in torrential rain. Joy.

Today, though. Oh, today is the worst. Not only did it start out in that weird, cold but humid stickiness, where I want to wear my hoodie but ugh, I don’t, but ominous clouds loom over the Cathedral of Learning. The air pressure pounds a migraine between my ears. I have class in an hour, but if I meet my professor at Hilman library in ten minutes, I can explain the death fog hanging over my eyes and skip.

The professor grants me a pass home. Relieved and dying to stuff a pillow in my head (no, not under, in), I walk outside. Without looking.

Yeah. Um. Downpour. On my head. In my face. Down my shirt. And hey, there’s a puddle. That’s okay. I wanted a shower before bed tonight, anyway.

I drape my fleece over my head and all out sprint for the street corner. My bus stop is a block away. I can smell home already.

Thunk!

What..who.. which punk is hitting my head?

Thunk!

Ouch! What is… is that hail?

A hail stone clunks off a passing car. A couple more ping off the lamp stand. Several more scatter along the sidewalk. Three more hit my head. My already aching head.

I wheel around in search of shelter and find it under a newsstand. Four other students press themselves into the small shelter space with me. We complain and curse the hail until the torrential downpour crescendos into a deafening drum session.

Soaked through, with a throbbing, bruised, pounding skull, I wait.

Fifteen minutes later, the hail lessens, giving way to drenching rain drops. It’s now or never. I gotta catch my bus.

I eye the pedestrian crossing light from my hideout. The orange man appears and I’m off. I break into a soggy, heavy sprint to the next block.

All I need to do is cross this next street and I’m home-free. The rest is up to the bus driver.

As I impatiently bob in place, waiting for the light to change, I watch a bus lumber up to the bus stop across the road, squealing to a stop and flapping open its doors. No, wait, that’s… no, that’s my bus. I watch forlornly, trapped on the opposite side of the street, as several students board the bus and it heaves a sigh, wobbling on to the next stop two blocks away.

The light changes and I trudge across the street, gearing up for a half an hour wait for the next bus. I want to cry. All because of this rain. This hail. This stupid, stupid weather.

And back to the future.

Chapter 6 in Jerry Bridges’ Trusting God study focuses on God’s sovereignty over nature. Like most Americans — or really, humans — I’ve filed my share of complaints to the weather. It rains almost every year on my birthday. It ices over every time Mister and I plan a road trip to his hometown for “Hunter Christmas”. A cold front tumbles in every time I plan a trip to Lake Erie beach. The sun bakes my shoulders and back almost every time I say, “I think I’ll go running now that it’s cooler out.”

And almost every time, I contribute the weather to random coincidence or bad luck.

I should know better.

No. I do know better. The Bible gives me no excuse.

Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who provides rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains…

He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes.
He casts forth His ice as fragments;
Who can stand before His cold?
He sends forth His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow.

–Psalm 147:8, 16-18

Other excellent verses:

  • Jeremiah 10:13
  • Amos 4:7
  • Job 37:3, 6, 10-13

Jerry Bridges expounds on God’s power over weather and natural disasters before leading into another aspect of nature: physical afflictions. Hm. What timing.

The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

–Exodus 4:11

“This God who is the God of deafness, muteness, and blindness is also the God of cancer, arthritis, Down’s syndrome, and all other afflictions that come to us or our loved ones. None of these afflictions “just happen.” They are all within the sovereign will of God.

— Jerry Bridges

Yet another reminder from my sovereign and caring God that although the doctors can’t see the weirdness lurking in my joints, He does. And He didn’t place this awkward pain and swelling in me for no reason, but for the furtherance of His good will.

I really don’t understand it completely yet, hence the timing of this lesson and numerous other events that continuously point my attention toward God and His sovereign goodness.

“God does not willingly bring affliction or grief to us. He does not delight in causing us to experience pain or heartache. He always has a purpose for the grief He brings or allows to come into our lives. Most often we do not know what that purpose is, but it is enough to know that His infinite wisdom and perfect love have determined that the particular sorrow is best for us. God never wastes pain. He always uses it to accomplish His purpose. And His purpose is for His glory and our good. Therefore, we can trust Him when our hearts are aching or our bodies are racked with pain.”

— Jerry Bridges

 

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