Thunder

The Lord has given this land to usjunior
No need to fuss, He knows what He’s doing
We know that He will take care of us
If we will follow Him

God’s way is the best way
Now that I know He loves me so

His way is the best way
And that’s the way for me!

–Junior Asparagus from Veggie Tales

Boy, do I love a good summer storm. They’re so great, with the warm, heavy-but-soft rain and rumbling thunder. They’re best super early in the morning, like right when my alarm goes off. The sleepy sound of the water hitting the deck outside my bedroom window is the perfect excuse to skip the soggy trip to the gym and snuggle back up under the covers instead.

BLISS.

Tonight we had a great storm at my house right before the kids went to bed. Bedtime is the 2nd-best time for a summer storm because I get to fall asleep to the sounds without the guilt of workout-neglect… That is, if the storm comes at MY bedtime. The kids’ bedtime is 2-4 hours earlier, and it mostly results in frightened children. Apparently love of storms is a learned gift, one which I fully intend to impart to my children. This is a problem if I have lots of laundry to catch up on or need to talk to my husband (anyone with small kids knows none of that happens during children’s waking hours) or whatever. However, on nights when I remember that my kids are more important than clean clothes (hey, these in the hamper don’t smell THAT bad…), frightened children mean extra snuggles and a great opportunity to teach my babies the most important lesson they’ll ever learn: entrusting their lives to a loving God.

Tonight my 6-year-old wanted me to lay with her because the thunder was too loud. I reminded her of the story we often tell when weather is bad: Jesus calming the storm.

“As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.’ So they took Jesus in the boat and started out… But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, ‘Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?’ When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Silence! Be still!’ Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.”
Mark 4:35-39

My voice inflection grew more and more animated as I recounted the story, wanting her to grasp both the severity of the storm and the greatness of the miracle. At the end, I said, “Wow, isn’t that AMAZING?!” She sighed softly and said, “Well I wish he would do that now.”

And then the Word started preaching to me. I love when that happens.

“Sometimes the earth needs storms,” I told her. She wondered why in the world we need storms, and I explained how rain is good for the ecosystem and that we need rain to survive. “But why does it have to THUNDER?” she asked.

You know, that’s a really good question!!

Trying to be confident-reassuring-mommy-with-all-the-answers, I went into a very, very basic (because that’s all I know) explanation of atmospheric pressure changes making storms happen, and how Ben Franklin invented the electricity we use every day after his experiment with lightning. But the truth is, I don’t know why watering the earth has to come with scary sounds. Any scientist friends want to weigh in??

Allow me to get all metaphorical now… Ultimately, maybe God wants us to learn something from the thunder. The loud noises sound big and frightening, but it makes us think about how strong God is to be in control of it. In the good ol’ King James Version of Mark 4, Jesus says, “Peace, be still.” No exclamation points, just peace. In that moment, Jesus spoke to the storm, but he also was speaking to the disciples. I hate when a really awesome nugget gets used so much it becomes cliché, but that doesn’t detract from its truth: Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes he calms the child.

My little girl and I turned around and looked at a little notecard that is Scotch-taped on her headboard. (I am no Pinterest mom.) It reads:

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

Then I reminded her of another phrase that is repeated over and over in scripture:

“Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (and dozens of similar passages… Google it)

After reciting these verses a few times, we prayed that God would help her to trust him, because we know he always takes care of us. If our earth needs this storm, we will rely on him to protect us and teach us his goodness while we wait it out.

I’m so thankful for the gift of parenting, because with all its challenges, teaching my children the Word of God teaches me as much as it does them. Right now, I am in the middle of a storm. It’s not raining outside, but I feel like the wind and waves in my heart are so strong and so high I can barely see. Maybe you’re there too. Can I just tell you that you are not alone? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You don’t have to be afraid, because the Lord is with you.

Yes, even you. Your past or present choices or circumstances do not exclude you from his love and care. Wherever you are, whatever you are going through, God is right there with you. And maybe you don’t understand why you need this storm, or why it has to come with all this dadgum thunder.

SERIOUSLY, THOUGH, GOD, WHAT IS UP WITH ALL THE THUNDER?!?!

Okay, I don’t have it all figured out. Loving the gentle reminders from scripture and Veggie Tales (you are welcome for getting that song stuck in your head), but I definitely don’t have all the answers. I don’t know why you need the thunder, and I certainly don’t know why I need it. But I have no doubt that God’s way is the best way, and that’s the way for me.

 

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