Yesterday, the weather widget on my desktop displayed today’s forecast as a thunderstorm with a question mark after it.
Today, the weather is displaying itself as a thunderstorm with an exclamation mark after it. And it’s pretty specatcular.
Thunderstorms have historically made me into a pretty jumpy person. I grew up on the fringes of Tornado Alley, and every year there was special show on the news channels about what to do in a tornado, what are the warning signs you’re about to be hit by one, and exactly what kind damage it would be capable of wreaking upon your hapless abode. I seem to remember two-by-fours being a standard instrument of death in those specials.
I also remember one time, being quite young, when the tornado sirens went off while we were at church. The group of us filed into the hallway. The power was out, and so the only light we saw was the red glow of the emergency exit signs. And let me tell you, nothing speaks comfort to a young soul like being in a dark hallway, bathed in dim red light, hoping that a two-by-four doesn’t shoot through the wall and kill you. Well, nothing, perhaps, except for the comment of a friend’s dad who, referring to the four-inch wide strips of reinforced glass in the sanctuary doors, says something to the effect of, “Gosh, I hope debris doesn’t come flying through those things at us.”
Case in point, thunderstorms have, in the past, made me quite a jumpy person.
But tonight, I find I’m quite enjoying it. I’ve had a new appreciation for thunderstorms ever since a particular briefing with my worship team really connected in my mind the majesty of God and the raw power of a storm. This is something that the psalmists and prophets already had figured out and written down a long time ago, but I’ll blame that on their head start and just be happy to finally have the concept through my own head as well.
I presently have the house to myself (which is, in itself, a small miracle). I have the lights low and the curtains open. I also have my computer unplugged, but that’s not exactly contributing to the moment. Unless you count avoiding electrocution and/or severe computer damage as contributing to the moment.
The point being, I have the opportunity to sit quietly and enjoy the light show outside. The thunder is definitely close, and rattles the windows just enough to make its point. It amazes me to consider the God who is Lord of all Creation, whose might far outstrips that of the storm outside. The thunder, the lightning and the waves of pelting rain are mere signposts that point to a far greater reality, a far more beautiful Power. The vastness and unstoppableness of the storm serve as a not-so-subtle reminder that we humans are weak and small and very transient, hopefully causing us to look beyond ourselves just a little bit to the God who thunders marvelously with His voice and who commands the path of the lightning (Job 37:4-5; 38:35).
That being said, I believe I’ll excuse myself and stare out the window again for a while. The heavens declare…
[Update] Actually, I excused myself to sit in the basement, because there are sirens going off. And now we’ll meditate on the majesty of God and how good He is at taking care of His own…
[Update to the update] I seem to have survived. So did my house, as well as my neigborhood. But now my tush is wet because I sat on my roommate’s shower mat while waiting out the tornado warning. Back upstairs we go.
[Random update] My Tornado Warning was sponsored by Buick. Which seems like a slightly odd time to advertise. “Seek cover immediately! – This message brought to you by Buick.” I dunno, I didn’t find myself sitting in the downstairs basement thinking, “Gee, I should really go check those Buick guys out. It would be a bummer if my house blew down on me before I could get there.”