The lightning comes again in the time it takes for a heart to beat. The sky is like a hunk of dark granite split through - white like the inner skin of an orange - with great hammer blows. A thunderclap follows hard on the latest flash, and before I know it I am hunkered down, crab style, instinctually, fingers burrowed into my ear canals to block the sound. When I walk again, the only thing louder is the fire trucks, wailing east down South Hayes Street on their way to only they know where, they and the recipients of some cloud-borne disaster. For a while, the rain was halfway to horizontal, but now it comes in bands like the footage of a hurricane. It stands in warm puddles ankle-deep in the low points of the sidewalk, and with the rat-tat-splash of urgent drops, the puddles seem to boil.
The ancients were not so daft to picture the gods hammering out weapons of war on great anvils in the sky.
My dad would have liked this storm. He would, I believe, have chased an F5 down the highway with the top down, but we lived in California, not Kansas. But today, I just know that I like the storm for myself. I am wet to the skin and smiling and singing Amazing Grace aloud on the sidewalk because no one else is out, and anway they couldn't hear me. I savor the white, hot, still mornings that promise eruptions of the sky like this one. It invites something in me to praise and awe and tremble, and the modern diet offers precious little to summon any such emotion. To think that mortals can be the friends and children of the God whose playthings are such wild dangers! To think that He is mine and I am His forever!
I am not without thought that some storms hold catastrophe. Some storms make widows and orphans and homeless. Just last week, I spent two days without power, and that is the least of all that could have happened to me. A great-girthed tree fell onto the white pickup truck of a man in that storm, and it pinned him where he sat, buckled safely into the driver's seat. "Impaled," said one newspaper. "Crushed," said another.
The random punches that the sky can throw have been the making of many an atheist.
Here I come to the limit of what is given me to understand, but I am not asked to understand. I am asked to believe that God is out for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose. I come to find that the only thing harder than an inscrutable purpose is a purpose that does not exist.
So often, belief must precede understanding.
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