Thunderstorms are fairly common in Houston. In fact, we’ve had some real “doozies” in my years here. This past Sunday, I was visiting a church where the pastor asked all the children to join him on the steps leading up to the pulpit. He sat down in the middle of them and asked this question:
“Where do you go when thunder comes in the middle of the night?”
Of course, they all said the same thing. They run to their parents’ room. I had visions of that scene in Sound of Music where half a dozen Von Trapps came running into Maria’s room, the girls unabashedly diving for her bed, the boys proudly declaring that they were simply there to make sure the new governess was safe and sound. Here’s what the pastor said, though.
“When you get to your parents’ room, the thunder’s still there. It’s the presence of your parents that makes you feel safe.”
As you’ve already guessed, he went on to talk about our ever-present God. When thunderstorms break into our lives, we can always run to him. The thunder is still there, but we are safe with him. Later in the service, we sang an old hymn that beautifully reminds us of our Lord’s protection. I’d like to share it with you here.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.[i]
Perhaps the author was thinking of Psalm 91 as he wrote those words. (This is a shortened version of that powerful passage, but I hope you’ll take time to read the whole chapter today.)
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”… You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday…For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone… He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,
The passage does not say we will never have trouble. It says our Lord will be with us in trouble. The thunder is still there, but we can find rest instead of fear when we run to our Heavenly Dad.
[i] “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” Elisha A. Hoffman, 1887.