We are a lovely shade of purple here today. That’s the real-time air quality report color for Kalispell, Montana: very unhealthy –just a scosh under bright red, which is hazardous.
Lungs are burning. Asthma inhalers are being used more often. We can look right at the sun in broad daylight, which is kind of funny after the big solar eclipse mania. We’ll remember this as the summer half of Montana burned.
My personal response is to feel panic. The forest fire smoke is emotionally oppressive, and it’s hard not to get upset when they tell us that only snow is going to put out these fires.
Sometimes it doesn’t snow until November. That is a long time from now.
But my mind goes to Job, and I use the Scripture to inform myself how to think about this catastrophe we’re experiencing.
In the book of Job, God gives Satan permission to test Job’s heart. Satan takes everything –home, livelihood, children, and health. After a day of calamities, Job has a heated conversation with his wife and asks her this question:
Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? (Job 2:10 NIV)
So I borrow the question and present it to my own soul.
Will you accept lovely summer days from God but not smoke-filled, forest fire days? Is that how it’s going to be?
Then I mentally flip to the end of Job’s story, when God gives Job some much-needed perspective during his painful trial.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it? (Job 38:4-5)
Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water?
Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? (Job 38:34-35)
The weather report says there’s a chance for dry thunderstorms this weekend. I want to beg the Lord for rain, but before I do the asking, I go to my knees in a worship that wipes away the panic and fills me with love and awe.
The lightning bolts report to God before they leave the clouds. I picture their salute.
The clouds drop no water until they hear a go command from the Lord.
Can you feel our complete dependence on God, to change our situation? Only the snow will put out the forest fires, and I listen to God ask Job:
Have you entered the storehouses of the snow…? (Job 28:22)
God is keeping the snow behind locked doors –maybe testing our souls the way he allowed Job’s to be tested. So I say to the Lord, “Yes, I will accept this trouble from you. I will praise your name and confess my dependence and rejoice in you on the purple day, when the air quality is miserable and extremely unhealthy.”
And now the question for you –will you accept trouble from God, who is in control of what’s coming your way?