It didn’t take long on our return to South Dakota for us to see one of the sights that has always inspired a sense of awe and wonder for me – the big sky of the upper midwest and the storm clouds that churn and blow in during the summer. As we were driving from Minnesota into South Dakota, this was the sight over I-90 as a storm was coming through. (I was not driving as I took this though). There is something truly awesome and awe-inspiring (and at times fear-inducing) about the huge billowing clouds towering into the skies and the weather that they produce.
I didn’t need to think much further than this when I read the passage from Job this morning as God responds to Job “out of a storm.” God’s response thus far to Job isn’t really a warm fuzzy by any means but is fitting for a voice speaking from a storm – it is words asking Job about where Job was when…The underlying message is God is God. I am who I am. And so forth. This is an aspect of God that I think I (and I think its safe to say we) tend to lose sight of. Yes, God wants to be in relationship to us, and yes we can connect with God and yes we can be free to express both our deepest joys and our deepest anger and pain, but ultimately God is God. God is the Creator. God is the sustainer. God is the redeemer. God is the power behind it all. And so yes God has a right (not that God needs my permission) to respond to Job as he does. There is clearly more to come in the book as we come to its close tomorrow, but it starts here with the acknowledgement ultiamtely that God is God.
I find this reality to be like the storm pictured here and the many other storms I have seen blow across this beautiful part of our country. It is awe-inspiring to witness the power that is there. It is scary to think about the power that can be brought down just by the combination of things in these clouds. It is humbling to realize how small we are in comparison to these powerful storms. Yet, there is also a comfort for me in knowing that there is a power that is beyond myself even if I don’t understand it all.
I do also reflect this moning upon the shootings of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and the officers and the civilian shot in Dallas last night. I do want to be like Job and asking God, “Where are you” and lifting up my laments about what has taken place. I look at what feels like a storm swirling around us and I do feel, at times powerless in the face of the depth of the issues that contribute to what has continued to take place.
It would be nice to be able to point to one simple cause, fix it, and be done. But there is so much more to what is there – decades and centuries and media and hurts and betrayals and chronic situations and problems in the laws and the list goes on. To me, its not enough to simply say, “I’m praying for Philando’s family” or for Alton’s family or for the families of those shot in Dallas last night. It is also saying, “God what do you want me to do?” Because we are not powerless in the face of this – we can take action. We can do so much, but we must do and not just speak. Job continued to “do” throughout this book – he engaged his friends, and he engaged God. We must “do” the same.