I love thunderstorms. These days, I live in the center of Philadelphia, where busy streets and skyscrapers compete with nature, but when I used to live and vacation in more rural parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio, I would sit on the porch and watch the thunderstorms roll in.
Thunderstorms typically happen in the late afternoon or evening, and I could tell a storm was brewing when the sky would get darker earlier and more quickly than during a normal sunset. The wind would pick up, and I could smell the rain before a drop ever hit me.
I would hear a distant and soft rumbling, but after a short while, I would feel the rumbling in my bones. One time in particular, the storm was so close that I heard trees getting zapped by lightning and crashing to the ground.
I’m not a meteorologist, but I do know one thing: a thunderstorm reveals the glory of God. I don’t mean to sound “super-spiritual” (because I’m still a sinful idolater), but I love experiencing thunderstorms because it gives my heart an opportunity to worship the glory and power of God.
It makes sense, then, that one of my favorite passages in Scripture is Psalm 29. You can read the whole Psalm here; I’m only going to pull a few lines from it: “the God of glory thunders […] the voice of the Lord breaks the cedars […] the voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire […] the voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness.”
As much as I love thunderstorms, I must admit that they intimidate me. When the entire sky lights up, or when the foundations of my house shake, or when I hear a 100-foot tree fall to the ground, I’m reminded of how small I really am. That holy fear is a good thing; the glory and power of God is meant to drive men and women to their knees (see Genesis 17:3, Numbers 20:6, Ezekiel 1:28).
At that same time, God’s power and glory is meant to be intimate, not intimidating. Look how Psalm 29 concludes – “May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” God’s glory and power is not meant to scare us away. In fact, it’s meant to draw us near, strengthen our spirit, and calm our soul.
You see, the same God who has the power to control the storm is the same God who resides in your soul. When David wrote this Psalm, the Lord lived in the temple (v. 9), but today, our bodies are the temple in which the presence of God dwells (1 Corinthians 6:19).
In addition, if God has the ability to control the most powerful elements of nature, does he not have the ability to control the elements of your everyday life? The next time you experience a storm, let it remind you of the glory and power of God, and let it give strength and peace to your soul.
Paul David Tripp
- Where do you struggle to see the glory and power of God in your life?
- Why are the things of this world temporarily more attractive than the glory and power of God?
- Why should the glory and power of God produce both fear and confidence in you?
- Where in your life are you feeling weak and uneasy?
- How does the glory and power of God bring strength to your spirit and peace to your soul?