God of the Magnificent

Written By: Timothy Fish Published: 7/8/2009

How much does a cloud weigh? According to the scientists at the National Weather Service, ďa Ďtypicalí fair weather cumulus cloud Ďweighsí over 2 billion pounds, or about 9 million pounds less than dry air of equal volume.Ē [1] If you look outside right now, you might be able to see a small cloud, somewhere in the sky. Itís just sitting there, minding its own business. Maybe itís the only one or maybe it has several buddies. Most likely you wouldnít have even thought about it, if I hadnít mentioned it. Our little cloud, about 1 cubic km, is just sitting there quietly. It makes so little noise we canít hear it. It might block out the sun for a few moments, but not for long. But itís over 2 billion pounds, if you could put it on a scale. This morning, that little cloud might have risen off a lake somewhere, in the form of fog. It stayed on the ground for a while and it may have been a nuisance for some drivers, but then it rose to the heavens, easily and silently.

If Man Made a Cloud

Consider this, the Goodyear blimp weighs 12,840 lbs [2]. The crew compliment of a Goodyear blimp is 17 [3]. A blimp is about the closest manmade device that we have to a cloud. Now suppose we had enough blimps to equal the weight of our little cloud. That would require about 155,800 blimps. They would require 2,648,600 people to keep them operational and sitting in the sky. If that is what is required for the operation of the equivalent of one typical cloud, what would be required for these massive storms that stretch across several states?

Most people understand that the reason clouds float in the sky is because their density is less than the air around them. Scientists have understood clouds for a very long time. They truly are one of the most ordinary things in the world, and yet, when you consider that even a typical cloud contains that much mass, when you consider that clouds rise to the heavens and stay out of our way most of the time, even with that huge mass, even the typical cloud is magnificent. Then we look at the clouds as the sun sets and we see a thing of beauty there. There is magnificence in the most ordinary thing.

The Magnificent is Ordinary

In the evening, we look to the western sky and see a beautiful sky, full of reds, oranges and yellows. The clouds form in such a way that they paint a picture across the sky. It would take an artist many hours to create this scene, but here it is. It lasts for a moment and this priceless work of art fades from existence, soon to be replaced by a starlit sky. That too is impressive, as the moon takes its place overhead. We look into the sky and it is magnificent, but it is also ordinary. Tomorrow, we will see a similar display, or maybe we will see a display of another kind. Itís beautiful, yes, but quite ordinary.

With God, the magnificent is ordinary. We understand part of it. We can duplicate part of it. Thereís much we can do, but we canít design a system that functions as well as our world works. We donít even have the ability to design a system that fails to meet that standard. The best we can do is observe and copy. If we had been here at the dawn of creation and all the elements of the Universe were at our disposal, so that we could use them to form the stars, create worlds and define the rules, would we have thought to separate the waters from the waters, as the Bible tells us God did? If it had been me, I likely would have left the clouds sitting there on the ground and we would have to drive to work in the fog every day. If it had been left to me, I would have gone to a lot of trouble to design a very beautiful sunset. But God designed the world in such a way that every minute of every day, there is a magnificent sunset and at the same time there is a magnificent sunrise, somewhere in the world. That moment, when we stop, look to the sky and say ďWow!Ē isnít a moment at all.

If I Could See a Miracle, I Would Believe

The next time someone tells you that he would believe in God if he could witness a miracle, donít believe him. When the magnificent is ordinary, who needs a miracle? If you could choose a godóIím not saying we have that choiceóbut if you could choose a god, which would be the better god? A god who works in miracles when people come asking for help or a god who knew so far in advance of when people asked him for help that he was able to incorporate his answer into the foundation of the world? Well, I know a God who works both ways. Yes, sometimes he answers prayer through miracles, sometimes he sends angels to our aid, but many times we pray and our prayers are answered through the most ordinary means.

Everywhere you look, there are examples of magnificence that we canít duplicate. If a person canít see God in that, he wonít see him in a miracle either. A miracle will look like nothing more than an anomaly among ordinary magnificence.

What We Must Do When the Magnificent is Ordinary

Since the magnificent is ordinary with God, what does that tell us about our needs and our desires? God can pull a 2 billion pound cloud out of a lake, raise it high in the sky, move it hundreds of miles away and dump the water on a farmerís field, all while making it look so effortless that some people question whether he did it at all. Our problems are nothing compared to what God is able to do. Often, when we go to God, we donít need a miracle or a magnificent solution, we just need a solution. But with God, the magnificent is ordinary. It would be easy for God to give us a magnificent solution, so it makes sense that we can take our petitions to the Lord, with no fear that he will be unable to provide for our needs. We must put our trust in him and he will see us through.