Tuesday I went for a short run after work. It was 4:30, and the temperature was 15°. I hope to regain feeling in my face by Easter. Aerobically speaking, I think I could have achieved the same result by pouring burning oil into my lungs. Now while you may not be dumb enough to go for a run in the recent cold weather, if the multiple headlines using the words “Polar Vortex” were true, many of you experienced temperatures equally as cold if not colder.
So here’s a question: what can we learn from a cold spell? (Apart from “Stop running, you idiot.”) Is there anything a polar vortex can teach us about our God? Actually, there is. Listen to this description of God from Psalm 147:16-17:
“He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold?”
Who can stand, indeed? When the temperatures plummet as they have in the last few days, we stand witness to a fresh glimpse of the power of God. Our weakness and frailty before creation is brought starkly to our remembrance. Despite all our modern technology, our synthetic fibers and engineered heat systems, the best we can do is minimize the effects of the cold. If we attempt to face the frigidity without any protection, we will suffer the consequences. The power of the cold is a display of the power of God.
There’s also another aspect of God’s character shown: his goodness. Why isn’t our planet constantly bombarded by freezing, sub-zero temperatures? What makes the majority of our world, most of the time, a warm and hospitable place for weak humans to live? The goodness and wisdom of the Lord. Yes, scientifically speaking it has to do with weather patterns and atmosphere and ozone and all that – but as Christians we understand that’s just another way of describing the wise and loving care that God has lavished on our planet. God created a world that would sustain human life, and even after our rebellion against him he still sustains us and makes our lives possible. The cold we’ve been experiencing will pass. Warmth, spring, and summer heat waves will return. But imagine if God instead unleashed the full power of his cold on our planet – who could stand then? Polar vortexes demonstrate not only the power of God, but also his goodness to men and women on planet Earth.
The polar vortex may have left, but it’s still winter. Cold temperatures are the order of the day. So when the mercury plummets again, make sure you bundle up. Instead of a run, maybe stay home and drink hot chocolate. But as you bundle up to face the cold, remember to behold the power and goodness of our God and Creator. Who can stand before his cold?
Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video