In recent days, southern Idaho has experienced something that few residents ever have. Rain. Rain? Yes, rain! You would have to live in southern Idaho to get this. Around here, southern Idaho, we don’t expect much rain from late May into September or October. In a region (according to the national weather service) that sees less 9.5 accumulative inches of precipitation in a given year, rain is a rare thing anytime of the year. The month of August is usually among the driest months with only three/tenths of an inch, usually! This month we saw more than half of our annual precipitation fall, not only in the driest month but that in only a few days.
I realize that some readers may know this kind of rain. But this rain made me think of this question raised by Job in Job 5:8-10.
“But as for me, I would seek God, and I would place my cause before God; Who does great and unsearchable things,
Wonders without number. “He gives rain on the earth And sends water on the fields…” (NASB)
John Piper raised this question in his 1998 book “A Godward Life” (page 28) “If you said to someone: My God does great and unsearchable things, He does wonders without number,” and they responded, “Really? Like what” – would you say, Like rain”?
Piper goes on to say…
In Job’s mind rain really is one of the great, unsearchable wonders that God does. So when I read this a few weeks ago, I resolved not to treat it as meaningless pop musical lyrics. I decided to have a conversation with myself (which is what I mean by meditation).
Is rain a great and unsearchable wonder wrought by God? Picture yourself as a farmer in the Near East (or Southern Idaho), A few wells keep the family and animals supplied with water. But if the crops are to grow and the family is be be fed from month to month, water has to come from another source on the fields. From Where?
Well, the sky, The Sky? Water will come out of the clear blue sky? Well, not exactly. Water will have to be carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea over several hundred miles, and then be poured out on the fields from the sky. Carried? How much does it weigh? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that would be 27,878,400 cubic feet of water, which is 206,300,160 gallons, which is 1,650,501,280 pounds of water.
That’s heavy. So how does it get up in the sky and stay up there if it’s so heavy? Well, it gets up there by evaporation. Really? That’s a nice word. What does it mean? It means that the water stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. I see. Then how does it get down? Well, condensation happens. What’s that? the water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That’s small.
What about the salt? Salt? Yes, the sea is salt water. That would kill the crops. What about the salt? Well, the salt has to be taken out. Oh. So the sky picks up a billion pounds of water from the sea, takes out the salt, carries the water for three hundred miles, and then dumps it on the farm?
Well it doesn’t dump it. If it dumped a billion pounds of water on the farm, the wheat would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the billion pounds of water down in little drops.
I’m taking Job’s word for it. “My God does great and unsearchable things. Wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth And sends water on the fields… ” The next time it rains in southern Idaho, anywhere for that matter, I’m telling of God’s great and unsearchable things. He gives rain on the earth and sends water on the fields.