Utterly Small


The wind whipped around my bare legs.

Just 20 minutes before, the sun had freckled our faces, but almost in a breath, sudden and dark clouds moved in on the back of a quarrelsome wind. Sputterings from the sky fell on our faces.

We made our way carefully and quickly over puddles left from the recently melted snowfall. Joel held mama’s arm.

Let’s beat the storm, I thought.

Like a great roar of laughter, the old North Wind came tearing through the trees, whipping my hair across my face.

You silly human! Beat the storm! I am mighty! she seemed to say in curling gusts of wind. The trees bowed their heads as she passed by. She danced through every thicket, knocking leaves loose as she went. A fearsome laughter rang out in the moaning of the puffs of cold air tripping along tree branches. The water in puddles piled into little waves, trembling. The grass prostrated itself as she lustily ran across the valley. In her merry rampage, the North Wind cast a cold and beautiful enchantment that changed every hue of the mountain valley.

I am utterly small.

I thought it as I warily ascended the rocky path. And it was true.

My accomplishments.

My body.

My plans.

My doubts.

My sins.

My hurts.

My moods.

It has always been true, but in that moment, swept up by the North Wind I knew it.

We made it back to the car with naught but windswept hair and a few hesitant rain drops on our cheeks. But our little walk set me back in reality; the reality of the utter smallness of myself in this grand and mysterious thing called life. Realizing my smallness does not make me feel diminished, though. No. It makes me bow my knee to a greater reality that is so much greater, deeper, holier than my little fretting over life. Only when kneeling before this reality does mine begin to make sense.

And so I go into my week with a newly commissioned sense of my smallness.

With open eyes and bowed heart.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,

“Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge? “Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you [a]have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Or who enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; When I made a cloud its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 And I [b]placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, 11 And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’?

12 “Have you [c]ever in your life commanded the morning, And caused the dawn to know its place, 13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it? 14 “It is changed like clay under the seal; And they stand forth like a garment. 15 “From the wicked their light is withheld, And the uplifted arm is broken.

16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea Or walked [d]in the recesses of the deep? 17 “Have the gates of death been revealed to you, Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? 18 “Have you understood the [e]expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.

19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, 20 That you may take it to its territory And that you may discern the paths to its [f]home? 21 “You know, for you were born then, And the number of your days is great! 22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, 23 Which I have reserved for the time of distress, For the day of war and battle? 24 “Where is the way that the light is divided, Or the east wind scattered on the earth?

25 “Who has cleft a channel for the flood, Or a way for the thunderbolt, 26 To bring rain on a land without [g]people, On a desert without a man in it, 27 To satisfy the waste and desolate land And to make the [h]seeds of grass to sprout? 28 “Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? 29 “From whose womb has come the ice? And the frost of heaven, who has given it birth? 30 “Water [i]becomes hard like stone, And the surface of the deep is imprisoned.

31 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, Or loose the cords of Orion? 32 “Can you lead forth a [j]constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her [k]satellites? 33 “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth?

34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, So that an abundance of water will cover you? 35 “Can you send forth lightnings that they may go And say to you, ‘Here we are’? 36 “Who has put wisdom in the innermost being Or given understanding to the [l]mind? 37 “Who can count the clouds by wisdom, Or tip the water jars of the heavens, 38 When the dust hardens into a mass And the clods stick together?

(Job 38:1-38).