Some Thoughts on the Weather

There’s an old joke that goes “everyone always complains about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it.” But that’s not exactly true. God certainly does “do something about the weather” and there are several passages in the Bible which talk about that. My personal favorite is Job 38:22-23, which says;

 “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 distress, for the day of war and battle?

This tells us that God directly intervenes in human affairs such as wars and battle by changing the weather to create outcomes He desires.

An example of this, I believe, was Operation Market Garden in WWII. It was an attempt, in September of 1944, by the Western Allies to use an insertion of airborne troops behind the German lines to seize bridges and other key strategic points in Holland, opening a path for the allied armies to advance into the industrial heartland of Western Germany and, it was hoped, bring the war in Europe to a quick conclusion.

Most military historians agree that it was a good plan, and General Eisenhower would later comment that it would have succeeded if not for a change in the weather which the Allies were unable to adapt to in time to save the situation.

There’s a lot more to the story than that but…well, go watch “A Bridge Too Far” or read the book by that title that the movie was based on, if you’re more ambitious.

The point is, here was an incident in a very critical moment in human history when the weather caused a severe change in the plans made by mortal humans. The obvious question is, why would God send a change in the weather in order to stop Operation Market Garden from succeeding and thus shortening a terrible war?

Well, I think the answer is, as it so often is, that God lives outside of time and He’s got His own plans and agendas. 

Had Operation Market Garden succeeded it might very well have meant that the Western Allies would have succeeded in occupying most of Germany and forcing the Nazi regime to surrender by the end of 1944, despite German forces still occupying most of Eastern Europe at that point. Had that happened, the plans being pushed by many voices in the UK and US (including General George S. Patton and even Winston Churchill himself) to make a “separate peace” with the German military and team up with it to immediately move against the Soviet Union, might very well have gone forward. The Atomic bombs which ended up getting dropped on Japan might very well have been dropped on Moscow instead, and it’s quite certain that the world would have been far too distracted by these developments to pay much attention to the discovery by Soviet and Allied troops of the concentration camps and all that they implied.

In any case, if all of THAT had been happening in the spring and summer of 1945, it’s difficult to imagine that the State of Israel would have come into existence in the spring of 1948.

The God who lives outside of time knew all that, and so he sent bad weather to foil the plans of the Western Allies to bring WWII to a swift conclusion in September of 1944.

I use this as an example of a phenomenon for which there are many other examples all throughout human history. Many times wars have been won or lost, or they went on longer than they should have or ended sooner than they were expected to, because of the weather. The weather has also affected the trajectory of human history on many other occasions which were, perhaps, less dramatic but still quite visible.

Skip ahead to February of 2020.

We’re experiencing an historic winter in Israel. After over a decade of drought conditions, we’ve gotten, according to some estimates, more precipitation than any winter in the last 50 years. Our neighbors are also experiencing quite unusual weather, including snow in Baghdad, snow and sub-freezing temperatures in many parts of Saudi Arabia as well as blizzards and avalanches in the mountainous regions of eastern Turkey. A bit further afield there has been severe flooding in Oman and the United Arab Emirates following days in which several months worth of rain fell in just a few hours (this phenomenon is happening in many other places around the world.)

What does it all mean? It’s hard to know for sure, but I don’t believe it’s insignificant. I believe that somewhere out there, plans are being made by mortal humans that this unusual weather we’re having in the Middle East this winter are thwarting.

It’s a reminder of the awesome power of the God we worship, and that even when things seem to be going very badly for us (or very well) He’s always going to have the final say. So, don’t complain about the weather. God is doing something about it, and it’s all going to turn out alright in the end.