Do trains unnerve anyone besides me? I think it has always been the noise and the sense of explosive power that makes my heart jump a few beats. I was laying in bed close to midnight, nearly asleep, all was quiet. Then I heard the train in the distance. Initially, it brought back moments in time, while growing up, listening to the night trains from across the mountains. As the trains got closer, even though they were miles and miles away, they sounded louder and louder and eventually sounded like they were going to come right through my bedroom! That is kind of how it is here at night sometimes. Even though the trains are miles away, they can sound like they are shaking the rails right outside my bedroom window, sending vibrations from those huge, powerful, (I fear) not totally controllable beasts right through to my core!
My anxiousness comes from the possibility of that power not being controlled. Our world is full of unchecked power. We had an earthquake last week. This is definitely not the norm for good ole East Tennessee! I have felt one earthquake before and a few tremors, but this one, it was different. I heard it before I really felt it. I was at my desk, trying to break through this insane writer’s block. I heard, what I thought was thunder, or maybe a car crash, or possibly a blown transformer. Then I felt the shaking. I just looked up at the corner of the room and concentrated on the sensations. It didn’t last very long, just a few seconds. It was kind of a cool experience in a slightly scary sort of way.
Talk about the possibility of uncontrolled power! The power in nature is among the most amazing experiences that you can encounter. Whether it is standing at the ocean shore and confronting the crashing of the wind and the waves or standing next to a raging river that has completely consumed its banks and is creeping outward to ravage anything in it path. Man can not control those things. I think man tries so hard to be in control of everything around them simply because there is so much in our world that is totally out of man’s control.
My pastor said something this week that brought my heart and mind back to a very special moment of worship with my God and His nature. He said, “Seeing all of God’s world and His works IS worship.” I wrote it down just because I am a note taker and I write stuff down; but after I looked at it again and the more I thought about it, the more truth that I see in that statement. Simply acknowledging God’s creation can be worship. With the earthquake last week, the power was there. The earth was shaking to a point, but there was an awareness that it could, at any moment, break loose and send our world into chaos. What I felt was God’s power, God’s withholding power. In that moment, I could see that it was truly a time of worship, a time of acknowledgement of God’s strength and sovereignty.
That very special time of worship and communion with my God (that I just mentioned above) was during a raging thunderstorm. I’m not sure how I came to be out on this lonely, winding road during such an intense storm. I was normally a chicken and would wait a storm out, if at all possible. But, this time, I was headed down a tree-lined, mountainous, rural roadway. It was at the end of the day when the light had faded and there was very little of the day left. The wind was howling, the trees billowing against that wind, releasing their leaves and branches to skirmish in the roadway in front of me and throughout the sky.
There was a brilliant flash of lightning that lit up the evening sky in front of me, silhouetting the trees lining the roadway; then an amazingly loud crash of thunder that reverberated throughout the little valley and straight into my heart. (You see, it is not the potentially destructive lightning in a storm that frightens me, it is the thunder… the noise.) I spoke to God in that moment and thanked Him for the beauty, for the amazing display of power. I cheekily said, “Well, now this would be a good time for the song ‘How Great Thou Art.,’ don’t you think?” Well ding, dang if the next song up wasn’t that! The words! The words were written for such a time as that. The words fit the moment so well. “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the works Thy hands have made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed…”
How could I do anything but worship in that moment. My God was there, showing His mighty power, and yet showing His tender loving care to me. That, my folks, was as true worship as I have ever experienced!
So as you go throughout this weekend, look for ways to experience worship; whether it be in a massive thunderstorm or a tiny ladybug making her way through this vast universe. Seek Him! Truly experience His presence! Allow Him to minister to you. Allow yourself to engage your heart, your soul, your mind, all of yourself in sweet and tender worship with our Lord.
“Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?” Job 37:15-16 (New International Version)