If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there will it lie. Ecclesiastes 11, verse 3
In the week after Wedding Week, it’s good to hear that some things simply speak for themselves. Some of those things are like the wedding itself, which was beautiful and one of the most fun, moving days of my life. Thankfully the weather held. Thankfully we didn’t trip when I walked my girl down the aisle. Thankfully nobody (except me) made a big fool of themselves at the reception. Thankfully it’s all over now so we can get some rest. Thankfully, it speaks for itself that God joined a young man and woman in love and created a marriage for them: something that can last for the rest of their lives and bring untold blessings to many.
Or there’s another thing that speaks for itself, namely that I’m back to work, back on the road again this week and ready to get back to the task at hand. I’d like to live in a permanent state of not having to work at what I do for a living, but that’s just not how things are. And I’m content to live knowing that God has me where He has me for a reason. I’m serving others in a larger capacity even when I don’t always feel motivated to do the job. Work is what it is, we were made to work, and there is a time to work (just as there is a time for relaxation, or relaxation’s opposite which is known as “a wedding”). That simply speaks for itself.
Here in Minnesota, yesterday the clouds were full of water: frozen water. They poured a foot of it as snow overnight, and the temperature when I landed last night was just above zero. It’s pretty when it’s falling; it’s pretty on the ground; it’s pretty cold for it to stick around, and it’s pretty much a mess to drive in. But snow speaks for itself. It simply is what it is.
And isn’t that just the case in so much of life? Life is what it is. Life is, and it speaks for itself. So it is with the Bible, and specifically this verse. It’s a common sense statement about things that simply happen and just are. Cause and effect; one thing leading to another; this and that: what happens in life just happens. If it’s cloudy enough, it will precipitate. If a tree falls, it falls down and stays down. Work can be tough, weddings are beautiful, and snow is cold. We can accept things like these because they’re easy to understand and make sense.
Why do so many people not feel that way about Scripture? Why is it so difficult to conceive that the Bible says what it says and is what it is: the actual words of God? If we can accept things of the world as they are, why is it so difficult for us to accept that the creator of the world is who He says He is? The more I read of Him, the more I see He is who He says He is, who He said He was to our ancestors, to fellow believers all around us, and in the glory of His creation.
I guess there are some things that speak for themselves but people just don’t want to understand. After all, God is who He is – that’s even His name, the great I AM – yet we resist trying to understand that, or really letting the simple fact of Him love, envelop, and determine us where we are, who we are. Maybe that’s the point of the verse: pointing out that there are some things that are simply common sense and accepted for what they are, including the Lord. It’s not a difficult concept. The difficult part is our letting go.
Today I go back to work. In a few hours, I go back to my client site and resume my place on the corporate healthcare treadmill. My inbox will be full of emails, meeting invitations, and the hundred small crises and challenges that are part of working in information services. By noon, the wonderful wedding last week will begin to recede into memory. My wife goes back to her job of being understaffed, over-houred, and always stressed. In addition to the good things that come with work, there are these not good things that are just as much a part of working. They’re common sense and just what they are. So, too, is the constant presence of Him who is not indifferent or silent in those challenges. He’s at work in them, at work drawing us closer, teaching us valuable lessons, and reminding us of His unending love.