Tonight there’s a thunderstorm outside our front door. The rain isn’t very strong, but periodically the sky lights up preternaturally in a brilliant display of raw power, throwing the distant tree line into a stark silhouette. These crashes of convulsive electricity are generally echoed by low rumblings of thunder, and it’s these latter noises that strike considerable fear into my little son’s 2 year-old heart.
What is it about a little rumble that so intimidates him? I can look at him, with my adult and sophisticated understandings, and marvel at his fear. Doesn’t he know he’s safe? We’re in our weather-tight, climate-controlled, electrically-powered home. We’re safe. We’re untouchable.
Yet I think Aaron recognizes something I don’t–there’s an echo of God in those rumblings. Thunderstorms serve as occasional reminders of power and forces that are outside of my control. I like to lay in my bed at night and to listen to a thunderstorm; but I think Aaron’s reaction might be more appropriate.
Thunderstorms remind me, in my better moments, of the God of Job. Job endures terrible sufferings beyond what I can even begin to imagine, and as the book wears on, he comes to question the goodness of God. He tries to call God to account. But in Job 38, we read part of God’s answer to Job, and his appeal to sovereignty. God references his power to give Job perspective: he is the Creator and Sustainer of all life, and will not be questioned. Consider even this passage on the rain itself (vv. 25-28):
Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
and a way for the thunderbolt,
to bring rain on a land where no man is,
on the desert in which there is no man,
to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground sprout with grass?
The purposes of God in his sovereignty and providence are mysterious and beyond my searching out. God created rain, and thunder. He has intentions for these things. He even brings water to the desert–and nobody’s there! And so he never tries to “vindicate” himself–rather, he points Job (and us) to who he is and calls him to faith, to trust in the good and all-powerful God. So, too, I must trust this God. Life will rumble, suffering will come, injustice will prevail; and I must trust in God. One day he will return and ultimately set all to rights. Then justice and goodness will cover the earth. Until that day I will hear the thunder and be grateful for a God who continues to show his power and presence to his people.