Devotions from Psalms Series: When God Thunders

When God thunders, I typically listen. So, we counted—1 1,000, 2 1,000, 3 1000—and then ran for cover.

Farming families populated one church my father pastored. One, in particular, grew hundreds of acres of watermelons. When the watermelon farmer offered me a part-time job in the afternoons, I accepted.

Weeds taller than I was shrouded the fields. Humidity sweltered, and I sweated and choked for air as I heaved the watermelons onto the back of the farm truck. The climate of mid-summer made conditions perfect for afternoon thunderstorms. When we saw the first flash of lightning, we counted. Three seconds equaled a mile. If we didn’t get to 3 1,000s before we heard the clap of thunder, we ran for whatever cover we could find.

I’ve repeated the same procedure while hiking in the mountains. Thunder is the sound of lightning, and though the chances of being struck by lightning are slim, the chances increase when I’m in an unprotected environment.

“The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals” (Psalm 18:13 NLT).

When the psalmist described God’s approach to dealing with his enemies, he chose the sound of thunder. Thunder is frightening because of its association with lightning. And God’s power can be just as scary or comforting—depending on whether we’re His friend or enemy.

Thunder can be a low rumble or an ear-piercing clap. The first doesn’t usually frighten me, but the second sends me scurrying for cover. Hearing God can be similar. Sometimes, His voice heard in our spirits is loud and clear, while at other times, it’s barely perceptible.

Unconfessed sin will keep us from hearing God, but sin isn’t the only thing that makes His voice sound like a rumble instead of a loud clap. Busyness, misplaced priorities, and selfishness can all play a part.

Several conclusions, however, bring comfort. God is continuously speaking to our spirits. Things in our life may soften His whisper, but He speaks nevertheless. God wants us to hear Him. When we don’t, we tend to do things our way, which leads to wandering in the wrong direction. Preparing daily to listen to Him is crucial. Beginning the morning with a prayer, asking Him to speak clearly and to help us hear clearly, also helps. Praying on the armor He provides is also a good follow-up (Ephesians 6:11-18).

What steps can you take to hear God when He thunders?

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash

Martin Wiles
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