I believe God has used weather and nature to intervene in history to make sure His plan for the world is fulfilled. Telling all these occurrences would be a book in itself. Therefore, I will relate only a few stories about events when weather was a major factor in the outcome.
Probably the most well-known Bible story where weather played a major role is the story of Noah’s Ark and the flood, as told in the book of Genesis (Chapters 6-9). God warned mankind , “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:7).
Before sending the flood, God commanded Noah to build a huge wooden ark with specific measurements. God's purpose for the flood was to destroy wickedness and sin. Noah was one righteous man among all the people of that time. His family, along with a menagerie of animals, were saved from the flood.
Some say that the flood was not world-wide and that the story was a parable. However, there are some two hundred cultures around the world that have in their history a record of a huge flood. The details are almost identical to the Bible’s Noah story, and are recorded in Persian, Babylonian, ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Sanskrit histories. A flood story is also related in the Koran.
It was not until a discovery in 1872 made by George Smith, working in the British Museum, that written verification of the flood was made. Smith pieced together and translated 25,000 pieces of clay tablets from the Epic of Gilgamesh, which contained the Assyrian version of the flood story. The tablets had been unearthed near the ancient city of Nineveh.
Another Bible story tells about the time God’s chosen people had moved to Egypt to escape a famine in their land caused by lack of rain (Genesis 41-46). Over the years the Israelites multiplied in Egypt, but they became slaves to the Egyptians. God chose Moses to lead the people from Egypt to a land that he had promised Abraham many years before (Genesis 12:1-3, 14:14-16, and 17:7-9.) The Pharaoh of Egypt refused to let the Israelites go, so the Lord inflicted ten plagues on the Egyptian people to convince Pharaoh to release His people.
Horrible afflictions like infestations of frogs, lice, and locusts and a huge hailstorm were sent by God (Exodus 8-10). Still Pharaoh refused. When the tenth and last plague caused the first-born in every Egyptian family to die, Pharaoh finally agreed the Israelites could leave. Then he reneged on this decision and sent his army and chariots after the fleeing Israelites. God parted the waters of the Red Sea to provide an escape for the Israelites, and then sent a strong east wind to close the waters after the Israelites were on the other side. The pursuing Egyptian army was drowned, and the Israelites were safe from pursuit. (Exodus 14:21-28).
In the New Testament, Jesus calmed a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:39). God used a storm to cause a shipwreck that stranded the Apostle Paul while on his way to Rome (Acts 27). There are many other examples of God’s use of storms and weather in the Bible.
The Bible claims in Hebrews 13:8 that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God has continued to use His control of nature and the weather throughout history to accomplish His will. The following four stories are more examples of God’s intervention using weather, but in more recent times.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed west from Spain on an expedition financed by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain. Columbus was a Christian. In the book, The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, the authors say that Columbus felt called by God for his mission. Isaiah 49:1 and 6 state that God would cause events to occur so that His “salvation may reach to the end of the earth”.
After many days at sea Columbus’ crew became restless and wanted to turn back. Columbus bargained with them. He agreed that if land was not sighted within three more days, he would turn around and go back to Spain. A strong wind came up and carried them further and faster than they had experienced for most of their journey. Then when four hours remained in the third and final day, land was finally sighted.
Columbus also discovered the West Indies, Central America, the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti. The historical significance of Christopher Columbus’ discoveries is tremendous. The world changed because of his voyages. The culture of Europe, along with its Christian religions, permeated the New World. Columbus did not find a new route to Asia as he planned. However, his discoveries did open the western hemisphere to colonization by the Europeans, who brought Christianity with them. His discovery altered the course of human history on a global scale.
The War of 1812
The War of 1812 has been called “The Forgotten War”, and has also been called “The Second Revolutionary War”. America had won the first Revolutionary War thirty years earlier, but some of the British still looked on America as a weakling. The War of 1812 changed their perception.
President James Madison declared war on the British because they were boarding American ships and taking Americans prisoner. The British were using the American prisoners to help them carry on the war they were fighting with Napoleon in France.
In 1814 the White House along with other government buildings in Washington, D.C., were set on fire by the British when they stormed the city. God chose His own storms. Three tornadoes hit the city that day and caused a debacle for the British. Many British soldiers were injured or killed by the tornadoes. Upon leaving Washington, the British troops discovered that their ships moored in harbors nearby had been destroyed or washed ashore. It was a complete rout for the British. The violent and accompanying heavy rainstorms helped to extinguish the fires in the city. .A tornado has rarely been seen in Washington, D.C. since.
Also during the war of 1812, Andrew Jackson defended New Orleans. His troops hid behind a long barricade of dirt they had built between a canal and a dense forest. The barricade faced a meadow over which the British would have to cross to get to New Orleans. Jackson’s troops waited. Heavy fog had settled on the meadow as the British started their march across it. Then suddenly the fog lifted and the British troops were exposed and vulnerable to attack. Jackson and his men won the battle.
World War II
During World War II God used weather at a crucial moment in May of 1940 that changed the course of history. Hitler had defeated France and was marching on the Netherlands and Belgium. The British army of 300,000 men was pushed toward Dunkirk, the only port they could go to in order to be evacuated. Their backs were to the English Channel.
God intervened. Hitler decided he would be too far from supply lines, so he stopped the advance of German tanks when they were just twenty miles from Dunkirk. Sudden heavy thunderstorms occurred that prohibited the Germans from flying their planes. Amazingly the sea stayed calm. This gave the British the opportunity to get to Dunkirk and start their sea evacuation. King George VI of England called for a National Day of Prayer for the troops and their efforts. As the evacuation progressed, the English Channel remained calm. The day after the evacuation, the seas became rough from a strong north wind and huge waves pounded the beaches they had just left.
Normandy D-Day Invasion
God intervened with weather again during World War II in June, 1944, when the D-Day Invasion of Normandy took place.
The Germans were advised that the on-going stormy weather would preclude any invasion at that time. They were caught off-guard, when for a brief period the necessary weather conditions converged.
For the Allied invasion to succeed, the Army needed firm dry ground with no heavy rain. The Navy needed light winds and small waves for a prolonged period of time. The Air Force needed special cloud conditions for its bombers and fighter planes. In order to use gliders and drop paratroops, a clear moonlit night with no fog was required. The barometric pressure had to be nearly perfect to create these conditions.
General Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for the invasion. It involved 2,727 ships and nearly three million men, making it the largest and most powerful armada in world history. The Allied army faced fifty German divisions, and the steep cliffs at Omaha beach favored the German army.
Again God was in control. The invasion of Normandy succeeded, Europe was liberated, and Hitler defeated. “General Eisenhower knew that God had intervened at one of the most important moments in the history of the world!”
“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (II Chronicles 16:9a).