Alma 37:6-7, LeGrand Baker, by small means
6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
One of those “small means” is the impact weather has had on human history. Here are some examples:
A drought caused Abraham to go into Egypt.
Another drought caused Jacob, Joseph and their families to go into Egypt where they could increase in numbers until they were ready to conquer the Promised Land.
A prolonged drought (since no one knows the dates for sure, we can’t know how prolonged) in central Asia and east of the Mediterranean resulted in the destruction of ancient Troy, and the crippling of the Babylonian and Egyptian empires. It left a political and economic power vacuum in Palestine so that Moses could bring Israel there to settle in relative security.
One of the major reasons for the severity of the Black plague in the late 1300 and early 1400’s throughout Europe was that the weather was very cold and dry. That caused the plague carrying rats and mice to come into the cities and villages where they could find food. It is estimated to have cut Europe’s population about in half. It wiped out great landowning families and did not spare the clergy. It disrupted political and ecclesiastical power throughout Europe and showed that the Catholic church did not have the power to stop it. Thereby it was ultimately one of the major “causes” of the Protestant Reformation.
A severe wind storm in 1588 destroyed the Spanish Armada, enabling Protestant England rather than Catholic Spain to become the world’s great sea power. It enabled much of the world to have access to English participatory government and the King James Bible.
In America, at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, Pennsylvania was the most critical state. It literally cut the nation in two and a single nation under the Constitution would probably have meant little if she had not ratified. Many believed Pennsylvania would not ratify. In the back country where most of the population resided, the people were mostly Anti Federalists who feared a powerful federal government. The people in the east around Philadelphia were Federalists who supported the Constitution. On the day of the ratification vote a severe snow storm prevented the people in back country Pennsylvania from getting to their voting places. Pennsylvania ratified the Constitution, but without the snow the election probably would have gone the other way and the United States probably never would have happened.
After ratification, the new government under the new Constitution was to begin when a quorum of both Houses met in New York. Their first act would be to count the Electoral College vote and announce who the new president would be. That was planned for mid or late March. However, snowy spring prevented the new Congress from forming a Quorum until 6 April 1789 when the United States officially began as a new government.
In World War II, the Germans were aided in the Battle of the Bbulge by clouds that prevented the Allies from using their aircraft against the German tanks. The German’s needed to capture allied oil and gas supplies for their tanks because they had only enough gas to get the tanks as far as those supplies. When they were well over half way toward their goal (didn’t have enough gas to go back) the clouds moved and the allied air force had its way. That marked the turning point of the war.
Those are just a few. I’m sure you can think of lots more. The weather is just one example to show the truth of Alma’s promise that “by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.”
Another example, one that is so common that we actually expect it to happen, is when a Latter-day Saint (maybe a missionary, maybe not) “just happens” to be in the right place at the right time to meet someone who is seriously looking for the gospel. That and other similar “small means” happen daily as the Lord directs the affairs of the Kingdom of God.