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  • Writer's pictureC. Kershaw

Thunder & Lightning

"Can you fasten the chains of the Pleiades or loosen the belt of Orion? Can you bring out the constellations in their season and lead the Bear and her cubs? Do you know the laws of heaven? Can you impose its authority on earth? Can you command the clouds so that a flood of water covers you? Can you send out lightning bolts, and they go? Do they report to you: “Here we are”?  Who put wisdom in the heart or gave the mind understanding? Who has the wisdom to number the clouds? Or who can tilt the water jars of heaven when the dust hardens like cast metal and the clods of dirt stick together?"

Job 38: 31-38 CSB

Thunderstorms are my favorite summer event. It might sound kind of lame, but the brilliance of a lightning-riddled sky, coupled with the energy of wildly cracking thunder, fuels my imagination. Growing up in the flatlands of Indiana, I would sit on the front porch in my lawn chair, just under the shelter of a slightly extended roof, and watch the storms come in. You can see for miles there, so you could watch a maelstrom move, heading in your direction. You could see the clouds racing toward you and feel the breeze pick up while small sticks and leaves began to blow. You sensed the chill in the air as the temperature dropped, and pounding rain began to fall like sheets of ice. I would sit there, mesmerized by the spectacle, until the wildness passed and the sun broke through again.

I saw God in those storms--His power and presence were so clear to me as I watched Him work in my world. Thunder and lightning--no man could make those things happen. Those were God things. Even as a little girl in an old yellow lawn chair, I got that.

So why, as an adult who has seen all kinds of storms, is it so easy to forget? God reminds Job, and me in a roundabout way, that He is sovereign, mysterious, and supernatural. The Great I Am, who orders the universe, does not explain or discuss His plans with me. He is not looking for my buy-in; it does not matter. God and I are not teammates who have to agree on the plays. Our relationship is that of a sovereign and a servant.

I forget that fact when I question why God has allowed something, or whine about the fact that it has. I forget the true nature of His sovereignty when I relentlessly press to understand instead of simply surrendering. At its best, this kind of reaction is a bit like annoying curiosity. At its worst, it is thinking that my small brain has the capacity to understand the breadth and depth of God's. That is, in a word, idiotic.

Jesus led His disciples into a storm on the sea of Galilee, and all kinds of storms after His ascension to heaven. Our lives are filled with storms too, and the necessity to interpret them. Christ calls me back to the wisdom of that little girl in the lawn chair. He calls me to accept that He is not like me. He has power beyond my imagination and He works in ways I cannot understand. He calls me to accept that He is who He says He is and, as Hebrews 11 says, a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.

Those truths are all I really need to know. If I rest in them, I can sit tight in spite of the spectacle around me.

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