In an afternoon coffee haze, I settle into my lazy chair, feet propped up on the stool. The fancy-pants people at the furniture store would call it an ottoman, but I prefer the word stool. I’ve yet to understand how I can consume two nice cups of coffee and still be groggy. It has something to do with being comfortable I think. Once my lunch has settled in down deep, coupled with me being in a comfortable place, the drowsiness sets in.
Coffee has dual effects on me. In the morning it gives me a jump start. When I am driving and tired it perks me up from my numbness to the road. On the other hand, on lazy Sunday afternoons like today, its calming effect is odd, calm to the point of drowsiness. Many times before bed in the evening I will consume the same two cups, and shortly after I polish off the last drop, will head to bed. Sleep ensues very soon thereafter. Go figure.
This afternoon we have emerged above freezing temperatures outside for the first time in several days. An arctic blast of air has overtaken our part of the world, bringing with it temperatures in the single digits, quite uncommon for our mild winters. The underground springs on the side of our hill have shown themselves in the form of ice mounds, water seeping above the ground.
As I watched the weather man the other night before this cold weather arrived, he displayed a graphic of the “arctic air mass”, a giant form of cold air expanding downward across our whole country. The thing was massive. I couldn’t help but think of God waving his giant hand to invite the cold air to come on down for a while. I think He must watch the weather man as a form of entertainment, rolling with laughter as He says “Oh, you think you have that figured out? Well, watch this!” as He unleashes His next load of unusual weather.
Life is out of our control. As I watch our son, Bradley, play tennis on the Wii, I can see him accepting serves from the computer, and sending back volleys. If someone from a primitive country were to look in our window, they would likely wonder if he were out of his mind. As he leaps about our living room playing virtual tennis, he tries to maintain control of the game. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses.
As I’ve struggled to get this story down amid interruptions, life just keeps happening. Bradley plays tennis, my wife Katrina sits across the room reading her bible. Our daughter, Olivia, climbs down the stairs, and as the sun goes down behind me through the window, Oliver the cat looks in occasionally, wondering if any of us will see him out there. Our daughter, Holly, just ran through the baseball field that Bradley is on now and was struck in the head by a baseball bat. Bradley keeps swinging, Holly keeps crying. Life goes on, out of our control.
A family in our church lost a husband and a daddy early this morning while most of our town was sleeping. This thirty-four year father of four, a man committed to the service of our country in the National Guard, went to bed early last night after a long day at work and did not wake up. His wife, children, and most everyone else, including myself, are asking God why today. Why would God allow this disruption to their lives?
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” “I have seen all of the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” As Solomon writes these words in the first book of Ecclesiastes, you have to wonder “What’s the use?”
The faint glow of the sun is in the distance out the window now. The world keeps turning. It will keep turning. If I wake up tomorrow, it will still be turning, unless God decides otherwise. He’s the one in control. I suppose that if He decides to stop my heart that’s His business. If He’d like to capture the axis of the world between His thumb and forefinger, and reach over with his other hand to stop the spinning, it’s up to Him.
He is not surprised by the weather, death, crying, sickness, or whatever seems to disrupt our day. While people sit around worried about where their next meal will come from, God gathers the food into His great storehouse to take care of them. He is not fretting or sitting around wringing his hands about things.
As He takes his pen in hand to author another day for you and me, He allows darkness to settle outside my window now. As I prepare my mind for my week, God already has it planned out.
Written by David Steen, with God smiling & laughing at the weatherman, January 10, 2010