I was driving west last night and as it grew dark I noticed all the lightning. As the darkness deepened and traffic on I-70 decreased, I watched the lightning flash. Sometimes it looked parallel to the horizon and other times it was definitely vertical with bright flashes which I guessed meant something had been struck. It wasn’t raining and there were no vehicles around and I was mesmerized by the intensely brilliant flashes of light. Each time, for a millisecond, it seemed as if everything was lit up; then darkness; then the first rumble and even over the road noise, it was as if I could both feel and hear the thunder roar.
The further west I drove the more it became obvious: I was driving into a storm. Soon there were so many flashes of lightning that they were individually indistinguishable. I pulled over for a much needed rest stop and for a few minutes stood outside watching the light show, feeling and hearing the thunder. It was loud. So loud I almost covered my ears and closed my eyes.
No. I wanted my ears to hurt and my eyes to be overwhelmed by the light.
I wanted to experience this storm in all its majestic ferocity. I kept thinking about the Apostle John’s vision of heaven: “From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.” (Rev 4:5) In Psalm 18:12-13 David sings: “Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.”
This was a rehearsal for being in God’s presence.
Suddenly the rain came. In sheets. Before I could get back in the car, I was soaked. But it was good.
As I drove the final miles to the hotel, I thought about this great God we worship. He is in the quiet as well as the roar. Darkness cannot hide him and brilliant flashes of light cannot reveal him. God is in the calm and the storm.
Prayer: Forgive us, God, for being so impertinent that we attempt to dictate how you should appear, sound and act. Give us eyes to see you – always, ever – in the thunderous volume and the painful glare as well as in the silence.