After a week of very cold weather here in Calgary, it was finally warm enough to get out and take the dogs for a walk. Looking west from the ridge near our house, I was able to capture this beautiful view of the Rockies. The sun was bright and the air was clear making it possible to see more than 100 kilometres.
We live in a part of the world where the seasons are distinctly divided between winter, spring, summer, and fall. But winter seems to be the longest because of the discomfort that comes with cold and snow. It seems to take extra effort to bundle up as well as to drive in the snowy conditions.
Yet summer can be uncomfortable too if the intensity of the heat lasts for many days–especially if it continues without rain. All the seasons, including winter, offer wonderful opportunities for appropriate recreation. Who of us doesn’t relish a relaxing time in the sun at the beach on a hot summer day, or the joy of snow-skiing the mountain slopes on a milder winter day! And spring and fall, though seemingly shorter than their seasonal cousins, have their own special appeal. Spring provides us with signs of hope after the darkness and cold of winter. Fall has the effect of quieting our souls following a busy summer while anticipating some of the grim realities of winter.
The seasons remind us, not only of the scientific precision of earth’s annual revolution around the sun, but also of God’s plan to faithfully provide for the care of his creation. His promise in Genesis 8:32, following the flood over the whole earth, was that as long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.
One of the most important industries of our time is meteorology–the forecasting of the weather wherever we live. I am often amazed by the detailed accuracy with which weather-forecasters are able to predict climate patterns so long before they actually occur. And as we all know, it’s very helpful to know what may be developing in the weather, several days or even a week before, so appropriate plans can be made with some sense of assurance. Weather-forecasters certainly have an important part to play in our daily lives.
But what’s really interesting in all of this is that meteorologists are limited to simply reporting on short-term weather developments, not actually determining long-term patterns. This leads us to conclude that we are dependent upon a Larger Hand in what comes our way weather-wise. And, as we know, though weather my follow fairly regular patterns, it’s not unusual for certain anomalies to occur that can unsettle our lives rather quickly–larger than usual rain, wind, hail, or snow storms.
We are all regularly interested in the weather because it has a significant bearing on how our lives unfold. However, the weather is also a daily reminder that there is much in our lives of which we have little control. The weather is cause for pause that we must humbly recognize our sense of dependence upon the Larger Hand that determines how weather and climate develop. Regardless of how much we are able to learn about weather and climate, it’s important to realize that it is quite impossible to control this vital aspect of our lives.
As we all know, it’s popular these days to think that humanity has enough knowledge about climate variables to actually manage or altar global climate conditions. Indeed, it is good that we have a larger capacity than ever to explore the variables that affect changing weather patterns–as long as we don’t insist on absolute knowledge concerning our theories! In the midst of our searching, it’s good to humbly acknowledge at least some element of mystery regarding climate.
While humanity plays with various theories of climate change, we would do well to remember that there will always be limitations in our understanding of all that is going on behind the scenes. Of one thing we can be sure–that whether or not the weather is absolutely predictable, by God’s design, such will always contain a significant element of mystery.