As a child I was petrified of thunderstorms.
Flashes of brilliant light wake me from my slumber.
Violent cracks of untamed power hurt my ears.
Booming rumbles echo through the night.
When I was five I experienced a deadly tornado. The memories still haunt my nightmares.
Monstrous dark black clouds chasing us.
Swirling winds rage and howl.
Rain and hail pummel us as we run for safety.
So the imagery of Psalm 18 makes me feel, quite frankly, uncomfortable.
He shrouded himself in darkness,
veiling his approach with dark rain clouds.
Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him
and rained down hail and burning coals.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded
amid the hail and burning coals.
I couldn’t make it past these verses for the first few days I meditated on this psalm. There is power described in these words that I’m not always ready to encounter.
Smoke poured from his nostrils;
fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
The might of our God is beyond what I can imagine.
At the blast of your breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.
And even still, this is the God who cares for me.
This is the God who reaches out in all His might and power to grab hold of us, bring us to safety, and work wonders.
He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He led me to a place of safety;
He rescued me because He delights in me.
In the second half of the psalm, David describes all that happened in his life as he encountered the power of God. And it got me wondering, what is possible in our lives if we step out into the powerful storm and encounter God as he rides in from heaven?
We would begin to see our way through situations that feel bleak.
You light a lamp for me.
The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
We would feel courage to take on those things that scare us.
In your strength I can crush an army,
with my God I can scale any wall.
We would accomplish feats that are far beyond our capabilities.
He trains my hand for battle;
He strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
I walked our dog early one morning this week. As we headed out a storm was rolling in. The rain began to sprinkle down and I heard rumbles in the distance. Soon, the sky was ablaze with sheets of lightning and the distant rumbles became thunderous booms overhead. Then the rain picked up and we were walking in a torrential downpour.
But I wasn’t afraid. The rain was refreshing. The lightning was breathtaking. The thunder was majestic. The day was new and full of possibility.
God’s way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises prove true.
For this, O Lord,
I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name.
The Calm in the Storm (a reflection on the psalms)