Thunder

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. (Psalm 107:28-29)

Storm3Before the sun went down we had seen the dark clouds roiling and building up in the sky to the west. A massive storm was coming. Now we were in the midst of it as sheets of rain poured down. Watching from the front porch with wide-eyed wonder as lightning pierced the night sky, we counting in thousands until we heard the thunder, noting how much closer it was getting.

Two-year-old Daniel screamed with approval (and a bit of fear). All Jared and I could do was to repeat “wow” until it lost all meaning. Tonight we got our fill of a Texas storm.

We were with family in Dallas enjoying a few days of rest. I had forgotten how flat the land here could be. Living in Oregon we are used to seeing the rise and fall of the land. We are used to fast flowing rivers and beautiful waterfalls. We are used to incessant, gentle rain (hence, rivers and waterfalls). Our storms are nothing like these. This storm was our entertainment for the evening and nothing on any media screen could compare. Despite its fury we were safe and dry in a home that served as shelter and front-row-seat at the same time.

Earlier that day we had turned on the news. It was depressing. In short order, we were given a list of things to be afraid of. We saw powerful men and women who proposed different ways that they would “quiet the thunder” and “calm the storms” of the restless aggression that is everywhere. They believed they were able to change the world. If we would throw in with them everything would work out. War would cease and birds would sing again. What seemed lacking was any sense of humility before God – and any sense of dependence on Him for what is lacking in the world. They flash onto the temporal scene like lightening and believe they can make their presence felt like thunder. It is all about Man’s solutions without even the acknowledgment of the God who created everything…

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:10-12)

It is the height of arrogance to think we can overcome the world by our own effort. Yet we are invited into the pride of such “great” men and women who imagine that they have the ability to do so without God. Or worse, they invoke God as they lay out plans that are detestable to that which He has revealed. We are foolish to trust in them.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD. (Proverbs 16:18-20)

A couple of weeks ago I was at the Oregon coast. I was awestruck by the power of the ocean. Yet it is a little thing God created in comparison to the whole Universe. And it endures from generation to generation while men come and go. Like the Texas storms, it remind us of something larger than the foils of men. It also reminds us that there is Someone who can indeed control them…

Storm2

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:23-27)

There is a place of security even in the midst of storms. It is not to be found in the schemes of men and women of power. It is to be found in Jesus.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 107:1)

About marknicklas

Mark Nicklas is a husband, father, son and follower of Jesus Christ. He is a pastor at Beaverton Foursquare Church and an adjunct professor at Multnomah University, where he earned his doctorate in Cultural Engagement. Like Jacob wrestled with God at Jabbok, this site is a place for talking about the identity of the church with respect to the cultures we live in. You are invited to share the journey.
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