I remember sitting in my English class the first day of my freshman year of high school. Mrs. Weathorn handed out all of the paperwork, assigned our textbooks, and walked through the syllabus. We had about 20 minutes left in the class period & we all set back waiting for her to launch into Great Expectations with typical English teacher gusto.
Oh, but that’s not what happened. We instead spent the remaining 20 minutes learning lightning safety. Where to stand if you are in a field & lightning strikes, not to shower during a thunderstorm b/c you can get electrocuted through the water pipes, an electric shock can hit you if you are on a cordless phone and the phone line is hit… So many facts and scenarios regarding lightning.
My whole class sat & listened in a mixture of fascination and horror. Then came the doozie. She told us about the time she was struck by lightning. In the parking lot of our high school. Whoa.
Lightning. It’s beautiful, fierce, wild and powerful. Such a display of wonder in the sky. There is another thing I have watched in the sky that is somewhat similar. Fireworks.
Fireworks are a man-made version of lightning. Beautiful colors, flashes, bangs, people stop to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’. But fireworks are safe. You know exactly where to stand so you can see them, but not get hit. You know when they will start & when they will finish. Plus, there are usually conveniently located restrooms & food trucks available to make your viewing experience as comfortable as possible.
Where am I going with this? Well, I think we do this with God sometimes. We stop watching the super natural and watch the spectacular instead. We like our flashes of light, but only in controlled environments. With a start & finish point. With a comfortable seat. With nice weather. And some BBQ.
The bummer is that fireworks don’t change anything. They fizzle out before they hit the ground. Lightning sparks fires, splits trees, sends waves of electricity through multiple mediums and leaves a visible mark. Obviously when God hits us, it doesn’t kill us but rather it brings us life.
But we are marked. We are changed. There is risk involved because we are not in control of it. When people are hit by lightning they talk about it for years afterwards. Like my teacher – she talks about it to each class she gets. I have never had a teacher talk to me about a firework show.
That’s because fireworks are ‘nice’. They aren’t powerful. They don’t travel through water and metal.
So often we can tend to want the pretty looking relationship with God. “ooh’ and ‘ahh’. A nice controlled environment that appears to have flashes of light in the sky. Well, they do have flashes of lights. Just fake lights that fizzle and never land on anyone.
We were made to be hit by ‘lightning’. The supernatural move of God. Marked so deeply that we tell our story to everyone. And they listen. Not because we are master storytellers, but because the story is that good. We are meant to risk. To run into spiritual thunderstorms and experience the altering power of Christ. And then be the means by which that power travels.
We were made to experience the supernatural, not just watch the spectacular.