As a child, I read voraciously. Books were a window into other lives and worlds and fed my active imagination. Book fair days at school were met with eager anticipation. As I’ve grown, many of the books I read when I was younger have faded from memory. But there are a few that have stuck with me. One of those is Judi Barrett’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. I was fascinated by the comical and delicious scenario of edible weather. There was soup and juice rain, mashed potato snow, storms of hamburgers and pancakes, pea soup fog and more. Just recalling the story brings a smile to my face. It is a fun book.
As I was reminiscing about it recently, it got me thinking about how accepting I am about one of the most obvious uncontrollable elements of life on this planet: the weather. If it’s sunny and warm outside, I try to get outside more and wear lighter clothes. If it’s rainy and windy, I pack a rain jacket with a hood that I can cinch tightly. We all adapt to the weather, and I generally have a good attitude about it because wringing my hands and complaining about it won’t make one raindrop go away.
Yet much of our lives is uncontrollable. We have no say in how other people speak to or treat us, we have no way to offset a financial downturn that rips away a job or a retirement portfolio, we are largely at the mercy of others for the quality of our food and water supplies, we cannot protect against pollution’s potentially adverse health effects or what genetic predispositions we may have that create physical limitations. Despite my lack of being able to influence many of these things, most of them can get me pretty emotionally worked up. I will complain vociferously and often about many uncontrollable matters to all my (very patient) friends and family members. But ultimately, it’s in all the uncontrollable elements of life where I need to turn everything over to God.
Like most Christians I know, faith can be a challenging component of character to build. God gives us plenty of opportunities to work on developing faith—through His Word (Romans 10:17 Romans 10:17So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
American King James Version×), through the examples of men and women of faith in our lives and in the Bible (Hebrews 11), our relationship with our Savior (Hebrews 12:1-2 Hebrews 12:1-2 1 Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
American King James Version×) and often by working through various uncontrollable situations in life (Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×). Let’s take a deeper dive into that last scripture and Romans 8 because it is filled with tremendous hope and encouragement for us.
The passage reads: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us … And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose … What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:18 Romans 8:18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
American King James Version×, Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×, Romans 8:31 Romans 8:31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
American King James Version×, Romans 8:35 Romans 8:35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
American King James Version×).
The storms of life can at times seem overwhelming, but we have a Creator that epitomizes love (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×) and all its facets (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; 6 Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
American King James Version×), and He wants all of us to make the choices that will result in entrance into His eternal Kingdom (2 Peter 3:9-14 2 Peter 3:9-14 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hastening to the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. 14 Why, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
American King James Version×). God gives us plenty of opportunities to build the character that He wants in us, often in the face of uncontrollable circumstances. It’s in these times that we need to look to the One who made us; who knows us so much better than we know ourselves. We need to ask Him for help, seek out His voice in His Word and live that Word with the guidance of His Spirit.
Though we may not be troubled with meatball hail or milky rain, we are often beset by emotional, spiritual and mental storms amid things that are beyond our control. It’s during these times that God wants us to grow in the only two things we will ever get to take with us beyond this physical life: our character and our relationships (with Him and with other people). If you are struggling right now, ask God to strengthen your shield of faith, and He will do so (James 1:17 James 1:17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning.
American King James Version×; Matthew 7:7-11 Matthew 7:7-11 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: 8 For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
American King James Version×; Ephesians 6:16 Ephesians 6:16Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
American King James Version×). It’s oh so encouraging to know that God always has our best interests at heart and will help us in ways that we uniquely need.
Remember that if there are storms on your horizon, the weather forecast just might be cloudy with a chance of faith-builders.