It’s been a strange week so far. We’ve already had a Super Blood Wolf Moon on Sunday evening and other kinds of geological events here on earth. The total lunar eclipse was interesting because it was the first time this year that we experienced an eclipse and it was visible from North America – in fact, it was visible from more than half the earth. And there will only be a total of 85 total lunar eclipses this entire century. Furthermore, the moon was in close proximity to the earth, causing it to look larger (the Super Moon) – and it was called a Wolf Moon because it was the first full moon of the year! The moon even appeared more reddish orange because of all the dust particles in the atmosphere as we viewed the eclipse from the earth (the Blood Moon).
So, by now, it would seem that tonight’s post is about this heavenly phenomenon. And there is no denying that eclipses are very interesting… But it’s not – it’s about events back here on earth that have probably affected you this winter but that you may not have even noticed. That’s what we are talking about tonight – cryoseisms – also known as ice quakes or frost quakes. It is interesting, however, that so many different kinds of things have happened already this year.
Clearly, at least here in the midwest, we have been inundated with ice recently. Last week, we had sleet and ice freezing on the ground in advance of several inches of snow – making travel dangerous and prompting government agencies to issue warnings and ask people to stay home rather than risk driving in unsafe conditions. In our case, it was not even worth it to go down the driveway and get the newspaper Saturday morning!
Earlier this week, on Monday, I was in Chicago and was fortunate to have an easy and safe trip to the windy city. However, as I was getting ready to head home on Tuesday morning, I went out to my car and found it covered in a layer of frozen rain! I scraped off the car, warmed it up and started home on the interstate. Admittedly, it was a scary trip. Trucks and cars were sliding off the road and, of course, there were many drivers who thought they were race car drivers and traveled well beyond any safe speed. It was mentally and physically exhausting – and it took more than four hours to make the trip back.
Thankfully, I returned home without incident but witnessed slide-offs and two close calls once I was back in Carmel. In fact, in one case, the car next to me was struck by someone who failed to stop at a red light. I was fortunate.
But Tuesday night, as has happened several other times so far this winter, I was in bed and during the middle of the night, I heard a loud cracking sound – almost a boom – that woke me. My first impulse was that something had fallen on the house or that sheets of ice were sliding off the roof. I didn’t see any damage anywhere and it sure didn’t seem like an animal was in the attic. I really was at a loss as to what happened and finally went back to sleep.
The next morning, I heard something on the news about cryoseisms. They were described as events, seismic events, similar to an earthquake, that occur in the presence of cold and freezing temperatures (hence the word “cyro”). It seems that when water seeps into spaces and quickly freezes, it can cause divisions or ruptures of the material it has entered. Just like an earthquake can cause damage, so can ice quakes or frost quakes. Generally, there isn’t major damage and those large pops and creaks you hear in the middle of the night are the result of layers of ice shifting and expanding – sometimes causing loud pops and noises, generally overhead, as in the attic. They can also happen in the yard, when sheets of ice expand and cause cracks in the surface of the earth.
I, for one, have experienced these noises many times before. They usually happen in the middle of the night because that’s when temperatures drop the fastest and that tends to increase the number of quakes. I just never knew what they were called – or caused by!
But even these most unusual sounds, with as much force as they can muster, pale in comparison to the power and strength of God. Job found that out in the book that bears his name. Near the end of this Old Testament book, God confronts Job and speaks to him, forcing Job to consider the awesome omnipotence of the Father. Job is pretty much silent – but God continues on – describing most aspects of the creation of the heavens and the earth… Our verse for this evening comes from Job 37:10, as God was speaking to Job about ice and water. We are told, “The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen.”
It is one of the many verses that speaks to the nature of God and the creation of the world. My encouragement tonight is that no matter where you look, you are undoubtedly seeing something that was originally created by God. Furthermore, we tend not to think about all the little things in creation that God planned and created. My prayer tonight is that the next time you hear the attic pop, or see the ice on the ground, you will remember that God in His infinite wisdom was the architect of all that is so amazing about our world. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…