The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
Psalm 29:10 (NRSVCE)
Just a few weeks ago the people of Iowa learned a new vocabulary word: derecho. The straight-line wind storm with hurricane-force winds blew through the state and caused an amazing amount of damage. We had friends who were without power for several days. I’m fortunate that our little town was on the southern tip of the storms and we were largely spared from the brunt of the damage. I did find myself running around our neighborhood chasing garbage and recycling bins that were getting blown around the street, which was fun.
There is something about the power of nature that both reminds us how powerless we are, and reminds us of Power greater than ourselves. Paul wrote to the followers of Jesus in Rome and said:
...from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as his eternal power and transcendence. He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible.
Whether it’s standing in awe of the mountains, the ocean, a beautiful sunset, or the ominous threat of a midwest thunderstorm, humanity has always made a connection between the creation we interact with around us and the Creator.
Today’s psalm is a fascinating departure from the repeated song writing pattern I mentioned yesterday. It might be argued that David is describing a derecho-like storm as it blows in over the raging seas of the Mediterranean, blows down cedar trees in the forest of Lebanon, thunders its way south as David stands on the ramparts of Jerusalem and sees the black clouds flashing with God’s pyrotechnic lightning display. The storm moves south into the wilderness and David meditates on the display of the overwhelming power of creation he has witnessed. He finishes the song in wonder of the God of Creation who is the source behind, and enthroned over, such an awesome presentation of intense force.
In the quiet this morning as I write this post, I have very specific memories of storms I’ve witnessed, storms I’ve been in, and storms I survived. I’m actually surprised at how many specific memories I can access from my brain’s hard-drive. Amazing.
It’s a good reminder that along this life journey I am bound to have storms blow through. And not just tornados. There are the storms of relational conflict, sickness, financial loss, unforeseen tragedies, pandemics…there will always be powerful forces I don’t control that will affect my life. I’m reminded that on Wednesday, David’s lyric reminded me that
…[God] will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble
Growing up in Iowa, I learned very early in life that it’s important to make sure you always have shelter from the storm.
That lesson is layered with meaning that has nothing to do with the weather.