My parents live in Maryland, between DC and Baltimore. They called me this morning from a motel, shaken but safe, describing the unusual sound of the derecho wind as it accelerated to hurricane force and perhaps beyond for about half an hour on Friday night, showering their rural ‘woodsy’ home with tree branches from thumb- to wrist-sized in diameter, then toppling a fifty-foot-long, waist-sized portion of a trunk from fifty feet up across their driveway. This all before their power went out and they started the generator. Then, a few hours later, the generator blew out, causing them to be without air conditioning or running water (as the latter relies on an electric pump). Neighbors pitched in to help. They are fine. It could have been worse.
Right before they called, I had begun my morning Bible reading. It just happened to be in Job 37 in which the Christ ‘type’ Elihu is speaking. Go figure. Here is that text (including the lead-in from chapter 36, which I had been reading Friday, around the same time as the storm). Draw your own conclusions. As with Jesus’ admonition about the Tower of Siloam, I take this set of events not as a micro-judgment on individuals (e.g., that Christians never experience disaster but others do — a foolish and putrid notion), but at the super-macro level of God judging this nation, bringing those with ears to hear to repentance.
Job 36:27 [God] draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in rain, 28 which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly. 29 Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion? 30 Behold, he scatters his lightning about him and covers the roots of the sea. 31 For by these he judges peoples; he gives food in abundance. 32 He covers his hands with the lightning and commands it to strike the mark. 33 Its crashing declares his presence; the cattle also declare that he rises.
Job 37:1 At this also my heart trembles and leaps out of its place. 2 Keep listening to the thunder of his voice and the rumbling that comes from his mouth. 3 Under the whole heaven he lets it go, and his lightning to the corners of the earth. 4 After it his voice roars; he thunders with his majestic voice, and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard. 5 God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. 6 For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. 7 He seals up the hand of every man, that all men whom he made may know it. 8 Then the beasts go into their lairs, and remain in their dens. ['Beasts', in scripture, must be taken literally in many cases, but they are also, very often symbolic of human beings with 'beast nature', in rebellion to God.]
9 From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. 10 By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. 11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. 12 They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. 13 Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen. [In addition to its wonderful theology and prophetic insight, this passage is a great apologetic, since the cyclonic nature of storms was unknown until several millennia later.]
14 “Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. 15 Do you know how God lays his command upon them and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine? 16 Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge, 17 you whose garments are hot when the earth is still because of the south wind? 18 Can you, like him, spread out the skies, hard as a cast metal mirror? 19 Teach us what we shall say to him; we cannot draw up our case because of darkness. [This section alone is a direct rebuke to those espousing the religion of anthropocentric, man-fixable global-warming, aka climate change.]
20 Shall it be told him that I would speak? Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up? 21 “And now no one looks on the light when it is bright in the skies, when the wind has passed and cleared them. 22 Out of the north comes golden splendor; God is clothed with awesome majesty. 23 The Almighty–we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. 24 Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”