Summer thunderstorm deconstructed: The beauty & power of the storm that came and went

Lightning over housesI love a summer thunderstorm. I love the humidity that fills the air, the roll of thunder in the distance, the flashes of lightening that streak across the sky and the sound of crickets chirping invisibly in the twilight. As I sit at my desk tonight, those sounds float in my window filling me with nostalgia and peace. Who would think that something as ominous sounding as a thunderstorm would make me feel peaceful?

Before I sat down to write, I stood at my keyboard and played a worship song that we sing in our church called Your Great Name. The chords from the chorus make a great worship chord progression and as I stopped singing the lines written on the page and started singing my own worship chorus, the thunder started. And so did a worship chorus from my heart that rejoiced in the fact that I serve a God who is far above all created things and Who has carried me through many storms.

There have been many songs written about God being enthroned above the clouds and His voice sounding like rolling thunder. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard the voice of God audibly, but when he speaks to my heart, sometimes the power and authority of His voice over my circumstances feels like rolling thunder. The thunder is never fearful but comforting in that I know the God Who possesses this power and greatness loves me and is for me.

Tonight, even though the thunder is building in the distance, the sky is cotton candy pink and blue as the sun has just set.  A flash of lightning illuminates my street like a split-second rock concert. A crack of thunder, closer now, fills the air above my open window. There is no rain yet, but I know it’s coming. The air is starting to move into action from its languid state as fronts above my house start crashing into each other. The thunder is not a distant rolling sound now but the crack of a whip followed by a crashing like large rocks falling down cliffs.

The rain comes. It is gentle for a moment and then it unleashes. So does the thunder – it’s no longer a rolling of boulders down a mountainside, but a bomb exploding overhead. The crack and crash of that explosive sound demand all attention as the storm passes over.

A cool, sweet breeze comes in my window. This smell is one from my childhood. From summers that were long and carefree. Maybe that’s why I like a summer thunderstorm. Nothing captures a young child’s attention and sears itself into a memory like the sight, the sound and the smell of this magnificent work of nature. The power, the beauty, and majesty of a thunderstorm create a sense of awe and wonder that captivates a young mind free from worry and fear.

A few raindrops are blowing in through my screen now. The intensity of the rain and wind have picked up, the lightning is frequent and the thunder is deafening. My neighbor’s lamppost across the street looks like a birthday candle in comparison to the brightness of the bolts of electricity racing down from the sky. The power of this summer storm has become impressive in its scope and volume.

And yet…all of this has been designed and created by a God Who is above it all. Far above it all.

Now the storm has passed. As quickly as it moved over my house, it has moved on. And that is like our lives, isn’t it? No matter how deafening the peals of thunder are that want to make us terrified, every storm will pass. There is no storm that has stayed forever. No matter what we’re facing in this moment, it can’t stay forever. No matter how brightly the night is lit up right now by either the brilliance of your success or the fear of the future, it can’t stay either. Take every day as it comes – take it with gratitude and the attitude that whatever comes, with God on your side, you are more than able to weather it and overcome.

I heard a story recently told by an international speaker about a man who was one of the most generous and successful men this speaker had ever met. He gave away more money, contributed to more schools and water wells in impoverished nations, and provided more housing for the homeless all while maintaining a very successful business than this speaker had ever witnessed. He asked this man the secret to his success to which the man replied, “I wake up every day, lift my hands to the sky and say, ‘This is going to be the BEST day of my life!’”

To think that this man never hit an obstacle or had a challenge would be foolish to believe. But obviously those storms in his life were invalidated by the greatness and the power of his thundering positive attitude. He knew that God had given him breath and ability for a reason and he was going to live every day using his life to glorify God with every ounce of his mental and physical ability.

But unfortunately many of us are derailed by the sound and fury of the storms that are passing over. And rather than take comfort in the fact that this storm has come to pass and that the God Who is over the storm is on our side, we let the deafening sound of invisible boulders make us cower in fear.

Today, let’s take the attitude that this IS going to be the best day of our lives and that whatever storm we’re facing is on its way out. Let’s look at the beauty of each storm, seeing God’s hand in how it is changing us and shaping us. Let’s delight in the sweet fragrance of refreshing that always comes on the heels of a powerful storm. Be of good cheer. Your God will not forsake you and a day of refreshing is coming.

The crickets are chirping again and the summer night has reverted to its quiet peace.

What about you:

  • Does the sound of thunder bring you fear? Do you remember being afraid of thunder and lightning as a child?
  • Maybe physical storms don’t make you tremble anymore, but the storms in your life certainly do.
  • Do you believe that God wants to help you through your storm? Maybe you blame God for the fact that you’re in a storm right now so you don’t have faith to believe He’ll pull you out.

If that describes you, I understand. I’ve been there. It’s a hard place to be when the One you need is the One you blame. Scripture teaches us that anything that is going on our lives that is not good is not of God. Because we live in a fallen world, bad things will happen to good people. Until we live in Heaven, we will sometimes be the victims of the sinful natures of others and ourselves. But that doesn’t stop God from protecting us in the storm, creating a depth of faith and character in us through the storm and carrying us to victory over the storm. We may walk through a hard time, but when we connect with God in the midst of it, we come out like gold refined in the fire – better not bitter.

Your storm has come to pass but the faithful love of your God changes not!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

I don’t just wish you rain, Beloved – I wish you the beauty of storms. – John Geddes

Storms don’t come to teach us painful lessons, rather they were meant to wash us clean. – Shannon L. Alder

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