This morning a summer storm came quickly to our neighborhood, and as I looked out the large, living room window at the dark clouds in the distance, a bolt of lightning touched down.
“Look girls,” I said to my young daughters. “Lightning!”
It was magnificent to me, and I continued to explain to my girls, “do you hear the thunder? Just wait a few beats, then you’ll see the lightning.”
As I said those words I felt the Spirit of God strongly. I’ve discovered over the years that when the Lord brings something to my mind and I speak it, He will kinda punch my spirit when He wants me to pay special attention. That’s the only way I know to describe it. All I know is my thoughts halt, and my brain and heart understand that the thought or words I may have spoken were impressed to me through the Lord.
Naturally, I asked God, “ok, Lord. What are you trying to tell me through this thunder and lightning out there?”
You have heard the thunder.
In a storm, like the one we watched this morning, thunder and lightning happen at approximately the same time, but as many of you know, lightning travels faster than thunder (even though it is moving at supersonic speeds) and thus we see the flash before we hear the thunder. The thing is, my daughters had previously missed the lightning, the display of His glory, yet they had been unable to miss the roar of His thunder. It had cried out for their attention, and now they only had to look away from the distraction of their tablets to see the magnificent light.
Thunder roars, and although God most often speaks through a whisper, desiring hearts that press in close and listen, sometimes He speaks in a roar. This world we are living in has always been noisy and distracting, but it seems to me that God had decided to use His Big Poppa voice to get our attention. We have not been listening, as a whole, so this year I think He decided to pull out all the stops and speak with the kind of authority even the deaf can hear.
He has roared with an unprecedented crash, as pandemic reared its ugly head. He has allowed sickness to shake the atmosphere, and in His mercy brought healing too.
He has roared the difficulty of the ensuing social isolation and financial loss, yet shown His grace through the silver linings of time together with family, the generosity of others, the giving spirit of mankind, the power of prayer when Saints unite.
I have seen His gifts emerge in me, and the roar of His Spirit speaking to my heart, even as the world seemed to fall apart around me at the seams.
We have seen the roar of an angry God, who seeks justice for all His children. We’ve seen the evil of the enemy using mankind to bring death, and we’ve seen our God manage to use it for good. We’ve seen Him bring out the roar in His children, bringing courage, conviction, clarity, and a determination to stand for what is right.
He has roared that enough is enough, and He has heard the cries of the afflicted.
You have heard the thunder. Now watch for the lightning.
The lighting will always accompany the thunder. The lightning is the power. It is the electrifying force that can bring fire to a dead, dry tree, but I think in this instance it wants to bring fire to dry bones. Arise, dry bones, and come to life!
I continued to think about this force. How do we prepare for lightning? Well, we usually take shelter, and I think the Lord is calling us like never before to find our purpose and meaning in the shelter of His wings. There, even when the enemy comes against us, we will be saved.
Then I thought of Benjamin Franklin. Do you remember in elementary school seeing the image of Benjamin Franklin flying a kite in a lightning storm? People probably thought he was crazy, but he understood that he needed to utilize the power above him. He knew he needed to harness that power, and in doing so, he could bring light to the darkness. In all reality, Ben Franklin didn’t invent electricity with his actions, but he did demonstrate the connection between lightning and electricity. I think we as a people need a reminder that the power above is what truly brings us light, no matter what your power bill may say.
The point is, we must be prepared to hold up our lightning rods, to direct the power of God towards the earth, and bring some much-needed illumination. We find ourselves in the middle of a storm in this country right now, but it is up to us how we will proceed. We have heard the roar of thunder, but now will we have eyes to see the lightning?
How can God use you? Right here, right now, in the middle of the torrential downpour in this country? Will you stand for truth, justice, and the heart of God? Will you raise your hands in surrender, saying, “God, I haven’t always gotten everything right, but I’m ready to be used by you!”
As believers in Jesus, we are a house on a hill, and our light can no longer be hidden in the safety of our storm cellars. We have to rise and watch for the lightning. We must open our eyes to His power and Spirit, and be ready to conduct that to everyone we encounter.
The Word says that by their fruit you will know them, and the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I think many of us, myself included, if we took an inventory of our actions, would see that our fruit has been lacking.
I don’t think it’s too late, though. I think that the Lord has sent His thunder to grab our attention. It’s been distracted by the world for far too long. We have all heard the thunder this year, but now it is up to us to watch for His lightning. He is sending His power to those who ask, and He is ready to use that power to impact the world in a positive way. Will we be beacons of the light He gives, or will we hide it under a basket?
In the end, the choice is ours. Who will we serve in the storms of life? A time is coming to choose darkness or light, and thankfully the Lord is calling to us with a roar. Don’t ignore the call.