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his wondrous works

September 8, 2011

I’ve been reflecting on the works of God in the natural realm, and in my life.  Back in April a tornado hit my parents’ house, causing significant but repairable damage, but God mercifully kept them safe.  Three times this summer I’ve flown to other parts of the country, riding thousands of feet above the earth in an airplane, and each time I’ve thrilled at that combination of human creativity and engineering, dependent on God’s gracious and faithful sustaining of the regularity of the natural realm.  Psalm 36 speaks of God’s faithfulness extending to the clouds.  God doesn’t just work in the gaps where human knowledge fails, but in every aspect of the cosmos.

In the book Science & Grace, the authors close their chapter on supernatural laws and natural miracles with this reflection by C.S. Lewis on the miraculous sign Jesus performs when he turned water to wine in Cana (John 2):

God creates the vine and teaches it to draw up water by its roots and, with the aid of the sun, to turn the water into a juice which will ferment and take on certain qualities.  Thus every year, from Noah’s time till ours, God turns water into wine.  That, men fail to see.  Either like the Pagans they refer the process to some finite spirit, Bacchus or Dionysus, or else, like the moderns, they attribute real and ultimate causality to the chemical and other material phenomena which are all that our senses can discover in it.  But when Christ at Cana makes water into wine, the mask is off.  The miracle has only half its effect if it convinces us that Christ is God: it will have its full effect whenever we see a vineyard or drink a glass of wine we remember that here works He who sat at the wedding party in Cana. (C.S. Lewis, “Miracles”, cited in “Science & Grace” by Tim Morris & Don Petcher, p. 136)

What a great reminder that God works in every part of reality.

Yet, reality is broken and twisted by mankind’s rebellion.  At Cana the wedding feast ran out of wine, presumably due to poor planning or perhaps somebody has been drinking it on the sly without the steward’s notice.  At any rate, if Jesus hadn’t acted, the newlyweds would have had the social stigma of being “the-folks-who-ran-out-of-wine” for the rest of their lives.  We see his mercy toward that couple, and a foreshadowing of the total healing of brokenness that will come when he returns to make all things right.  He told his mom his time hadn’t yet come, but when it did come at the cross, he gave himself to repair the wreckage of our fall, gave us his body and blood, bread and wine, both to enjoy, to remind us of his faithfulness, our redemption, and the coming feast.

If our eyes are open, we see God’s work at every turn, in the tornado, in the wonder of air travel, in bread and wine.  The refrain of Psalm 107 calls us to thank the Giver of all good:

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica permalink
    September 8, 2011 7:24 pm

    Thanks for this truth reminder, Joel. And thanks for your note of Isaiah 25 (I think it was 25) following my recent loss.

  2. September 8, 2011 7:46 pm

    Your welcome, on both counts. I’ve recently been a bit over-whelmed by all the manifestations of God’s faithfulness that slip past me every day without my noticing them.

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