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God is in the Details

I have been watching The Weather Channel a great deal lately, perhaps too much. The news is at times frightening. There are days that feel apocalyptic. There are fires. There are hurricanes. Let us not forget about our fellow countrymen in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands! There are tornadoes. And there are floods.

This week we read about Noah and the flood that destroyed the earth. It is a classic tale. It is a well-known story. This apocalyptic flood represents an age-old fear. After the waters recede God promises never again to destroy the earth because of humanity’s evil deeds.

The earth is entrusted to our care. We are commanded to be nature’s protectors.

Have we heeded the command? Have we taken to heart our sacred task?

Recently I watched an enthralling video about Yellowstone National Park.

Years ago a pack of wolves were reintroduced into the park after years of absence. We had once thought wolves to be a dangerous nuisance.

The wolves’ reintroduction caused what scientists call a trophic cascade. Given that the wolves sit at the top of the park’s food chain their presence caused a ripple effect throughout the park’s ecosystem.

To cite but one example, the wolves killed the deer that ate the grass. And then the fields regenerated. (A positive Chad Gadyah moment?) The banks of the river stabilized. And the course of the river even began to change. The course of the rivers and lakes are ours to care for. The flood is within the reach of our responsibility.

A few days ago I watched the sun set over Huntington Harbor. I found a quiet spot overlooking the harbor’s lighthouse. I listened. It was low tide and I could hear the birds dropping clams on the rocks in order to crack open their shells. The crickets chirped loudly in anticipation of the approaching darkness. The waves gently lapped at the tall grass on the shore.

I closed my eyes. I could hear the sunset.

And I could hear God’s promise, renewed.
So long as the earth endures,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
Day and night
Shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)
The rhythm of the natural world follows its accustomed path. It can hinge on one small detail.

It rests in our hands.