The Voice of Thunder Proclaims

Photo by Angela Compagnone on Unsplash

Nothing Is Too Small To Escape God's Attention

by Eric Elkin

The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
— Psalm 29:4

One evening, at the end of a week-long canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Northern Minnesota, our family decided to sleep out under the stars. We found a ledge about fifteen feet above the ground. It was deep enough to allow us to sleep comfortably without fear of falling off. The ground was covered with thick moss making it a very comfortable place to sleep.

In the middle of the night, we were awakened by the sound of distant thunder. The sound made us afraid a storm might be moving in, so we studied the night sky. What we discovered was nothing short of majesty.

Above us was a clear and moonless night sky filled with stars. Faraway on the southern horizon, a large bank of thunderclouds was putting on a show. Massive flashes of lightning, too distant to be dangerous, were putting on an incredible light show. 

Sounds of thunder rolled across the surface of the earth and reminded all creatures of the power of God. The sound caused the loons to sing and the wolves to howl. Even our dog sat there silently mesmerized by the event. The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

Lightning is the voice of God. There is nothing on earth that will convince me any differently. Neither a physicist who studies the field of lightning nor a biblical scholar who forms theologies can provide any wisdom to contradict my position. Nothing on earth captures the sheer power, majesty, and mystery of God quite like lightning.

Cosmic humility is a much-needed ecological virtue... We need the humility to ‘walk more lightly upon the Earth, with more regard for the life around us.’…We need the humility to know ourselves as creatures within creation, not gods over creation, the humility of knowing that only God is God
— Richard Bauckham, The Bible and Ecology

Physicists know lighting begins with static charges in the clouds. Warm water droplets in the bottom of clouds get caught up in violent winds. They get thrust to the top of the cloud where they collide with colder water droplets setting off electric reactions. 

The reaction heats the water droplets to 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit, five times hotter than the sun. The heated air explodes as it expands and then is quickly cooled by the surrounding air. This exchange creates the CRACK sound and the subsequent rumbles. No mystery there, except, no one has yet to figure out why it happens. What initiates the charges? Only theories, which remain too difficult to prove. 

Lightning is the voice of God because, if you know the science, an unimaginable power is produced out of the smallest and most insignificant particles -- raindrops. Lightning proclaims a mystery too elusive to control and majesty which captures the imagination of all creatures. It calls us all to a place of humility. 

Most of all, lightning reminds us there is nothing too small in the universe to escape God’s attention. No matter how little you might feel, God loves you and can do powerful things through you. That, in and of itself, is a majestic thing.

Click to read: Psalm 29

Reflection Questions:

  • When have you had an encounter with lightning?
  • What did you learn from the experience?
  • When have you heard the voice of God?
  • What did this voice tell you?

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