The sharp contrasts of recent weather have me pondering God's hand upon our lives. Sometimes God brings careful order to our existence. For example, consider the Ten Commandments. You can't get much more ordered than that.
The first 20 chapters of the Biblical book of Exodus tells the wild and woolly story of God's people as they endure slavery, oppression, plagues, escape and wandering in the wilderness. Finally, God calls the people to Mount Sinai, summons Moses to the mountaintop, and through miraculous signs and wonders provides the law that will bring order to God's people for centuries to come. Sometimes God carefully orders our lives as illustrated in the giving of the Ten Commandments.
These winter months may be the perfect time to reflect on God's order. Maybe you've come through your own wild and woolly times and are just now feeling the touch of God's steady hand restoring peace to you and those you love. Perhaps the change of transition is finally giving way to comfortable routines, familiar faces and safe places. There are times when God brings order to life, and that is good.
However, there also are times when the Spirit of God moves and the winter wind blows where it chooses. The Biblical Gospel of John tells the tale of Jesus blowing through the Jerusalem temple like a mighty wind that turns everything upside down. The temple is filled with faithful pilgrims practicing their religion. Jesus enters, but instead of praying, singing, and meditating, he starts overturning the tables. According to the story the temple has become too much like a business and too little like God's house. So the Lord turns everything upside down.
A lot of folks are buffeted by strong winds this winter and experiencing life turned upside down. Maybe you are among the number reeling from an injury, illness, grief or catastrophe. Perhaps events in your life and events around the world have you feeling uneasy, uncertain, frightened and confused. You may even be asking, "Why has God turned my life upside down?" I'll be honest with you. I don't know.
I don't know why sometimes God brings order to our lives and other times God turns our lives upside down. The composer of Psalm 147 declares that God's "understanding is beyond measure." I confess difficulty in understanding drastic changes in the Spiritual climate. But, there is something I do understand. That is, whether our lives are in order or upside down, God is there. Whether things are running smoothly or right into the ground, God still cares. Whether we're living in the safety of comfortable routines or enduring frightening circumstances, God is with us and we are never alone.
Sometimes God gives us order. Sometimes God turns our lives upside down. But always God loves us, forever and forever and forever again.
- Charnock is the director of Mission Integration and Ethics at Susquehanna Health.