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Job 38: 22-23, 29-30

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? … From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven? The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.”

My first winter in Maine and I find myself buried under two feet of snow, without electricity for (as of this writing) twenty-four hours. You think you’re prepared; you’ve got backup water, plenty of blankets, extra charge for your cell phone… but as HBO’s Game of Thrones continues to remind us: “The night is dark and full of terrors.” Enough hours without heat, and for even the most prepared New Englander, without a wood stove an inconvenience can start to become… unsettling.

Will the car start if I need it to? What if a tree comes down on the house? What if this goes on so long that it gets below freezing in here? Will the cat be all right? What will people at work think if I have to go in without a shower?

We think we know how things work. We have utility companies with dedicated linemen. We have our most rugged sisters and brothers behind the snowplows and the sanders. We have cell towers and emergency services and our old New England spirit to keep us warm.

But in the dark of the night when the wind howls through the eaves, the roof creaks under the weight of the ice, and the temperature drops another degree… nature shows us that we don’t know anything.

In the book of Job, God shows Job that the universe he thought he understood is so much bigger and scarier and more complicated than he ever could have imagined. All Job’s plans and preparations and cause-and-effect rationalizations meant very little in the face of the God of ice and snow.

Does that mean we stop preparing? Does that mean we succumb to fear and helplessness in the face of a universe we could never truly conquer?

Of course not. We may be tiny, fragile things clinging to skin of an inscrutable world, but when the night is coldest, darkest, and full of terrors… we remember that the God that births the ice and snow is the same God that birthed the plowman.

 

Pastor Dan Hollis

Prayer: God of ice and fire, cool our tempers and warm our spirits. Never stop surprising us, and may your protection never fail. Amen.