Last night we had a tremendous thunder storm here in Wadsworth. I, at the age of 28, am experiencing near panic every time we have such storms. I've never been afraid of thunderstorms before, when I was a kid they didn't bother me. They've never bothered me until the last five years or so.
During storms like last night, I find myself experiencing terror.
You see, the Bible uses the imagery of thunder to describe the coming judgment of our Holy, Almighty God. As a student of theology I run across the theme of judgment all the time and I have to be careful to not allow this doctrine to swallow me into despair...only the doctrines of grace give my mind comfort. If I thought for a second that my salvation was based upon a choice or decision of mine, I would, like Luther, go crazy. Why? Cause I choose sin all the time.
I felt like Luther last night, at 2, 3 and 4am. In my defense, I was half asleep but every time that thunder would boom and crack I would want to hide myself and scream! Luther was caught out in such a storm as a young man late one night when lightning struck nearby. He fell down and cried, "God save me! I'll become a priest!" Every time that thunder would boom last night I would cry in my heart, "God save me!" I’m sure Naomi could feel me flinch and even hear me groan in fear. Maybe I’m cracking up…
When I'm half asleep like that and thunder is booming and lightening is cracking I always have this very real feeling that the Lord Jesus Christ is on the verge of descending from heaven with a shout...and I tremble at that thought. I know that this indicates an out of balance view of God on my part. This is indicating that I focus too much attention on His wrath and justice and not enough on His grace and mercy. I'm sure that is true. But, for me at least, I can't imagine myself initially feeling anything but fear and shame when He returns. I have to believe that He will calm my fears and remove all my shame, but it's just that initial experience that terrifies me. Can you relate? Does seeing Jesus for the first time thrill you or freak you out? I’m just being honest, it freaks me out. I get overwhelmed at the thought and it literally drives me to prepare for that day, it drives me to long for holiness in my inmost being.
I think a good dose of Godly fear and dread would do wonders in the hearts of most western evangelicals.
I am redeemed by His grace and calling. He saved me, He chose me and He redeemed me. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…”
Isa 29:6 the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.