While doing an internship in Oklahoma, I used to stand outside my apartment building and watch the storms roll in from the west. This part of Oklahoma was pretty flat with few tall trees around. It made for great unobstructed views as storms approached on the horizon.
The part I loved was the lightning. In hindsight, it wasn’t very smart standing outside being mesmerized by something that could kill me. Call it my Ben Franklin moment. Even so, it was truly amazing. From out of the darkness, one main bolt would separate into dazzling branches of light. Each of those in turn would produce even more branches until finally a tree of lightning lit up the night sky. The storm would tease me to count all the radiant fingers, then hide them all before I could reach “two.”
I’ve heard it said the brightest lightning bolt comes from the darkest thundercloud. Scientifically I don’t know if this is true, but in the reality of Christian life it certainly is.
Take Gideon for example. Now there was a man surrounded by dark thunderclouds on all sides. He had the entire Midian army pointed his direction. The Bible says they were as thick as locusts. Not even their camels could be counted. That’s a lot of Midians. And the number Gideon had on his side to face down this horde? 300 men. It seemed the Midian storm would overwhelm Gideon and his small band of men without even trying. But instead, God delivered the entire Midian army into Gideon’s hand. Their army was wiped out with none of Gideon’s men even touching their swords. As Gideon stared at guaranteed defeat, God delivered impossible victory.
I’ve never faced down an invading army like Gideon, but there have been many life storms that could, maybe should, have destroyed me. Losing my job. The split of my church. The death of my father. But in the midst of those darkest clouds I have been awe-inspired by the flash of God’s amazing power. It was during those storms of guaranteed destruction God gave me impossible victory. Certainly, I don’t believe I must go through a storm in order to see God’s power. But I do appreciate it more when his power flashes against the backdrop of a terrible tempest.
How about you? Can you feel the headwinds of an approaching storm rushing past your face? Are life’s darkest clouds massing on your horizon and pointed straight at you? If so, I encourage you to keep your faith. God hasn’t left you. Expect to experience the most brilliant and powerful lightning bolt of your life.
Stand outside. Face the storm. Have your own Ben Franklin moment.
Live the Mission,