Sunday, June 29, 2008


The reason lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice is that the same place isn't there a second time.
-Willie Tyler-

And His lightning conquered everything around
That dark had to flee
-Caedmon's Call-

Several nights ago I went outside to let the dog take a piss. It had been storming all day so it felt fresh. The air smelt clean and there was a slight breeze. It was really late (sometime between 1 & 2 in the morning) - quiet. There was no moon and the sky was clear over our house. I turned off the light on our mailbox and laid in the bed of my truck for a while. You could see more stars that night than I had ever seen from our house. The thing that made it so impressive was that there were thunderstorms all around. At the edges of my view there were huge dark clouds that were moving fast, but above me the sky was clear and still.

I felt and thought so much in that moment. I felt small and insignificant for a while. Then I began to feel like that night- the hole in the clouds - the breeze- the stars were all there for me. I'm not sure why God created the rest of the universe (maybe just because he could - for fun, maybe because he can't help but create, maybe its all just an overflow of his creative beauty) but that night I became certain that it was all there the proclaim his name to me, in that moment. I thought about how huge the universe is. I thought about how powerful light is. One tiny ray of light created by a distant star can penetrate billions (I'm sure that's too small of a number) of miles of space. I thought about my dad. I read somewhere that light from some stars takes so long to get to us that we may be seeing a star that burned out long ago. The star is gone, but its light remains.

My favorite thing about the other night was the lighting. It was all around me but I couldn't see it directly. I never saw a single bolt of lightning, but every now and then a distant strike would light up the sky. It would wash across my little opening in the clouds and all the stars would disappear. As quickly as it came it went away and I was left anticipating its next strike. That's often the way God shows up in my life. He has rarely been as bright or (obviously) consistent as the sun. I always have the feeling he's out there, somewhere just out of sight. It often becomes easier to focus on lesser lights. I get caught up in things, experiences, and relationships. They are my stars. I'll be cruising along fine and BAM, lighting. When God shows up its impressive. It becomes difficult or impossible to focus on anything else. In those moments everything else fades into the background and there is only Him. I am startled, often frightened. Stunned. Amazed. Completely in awe. I am comforted. Inspired. Moved and forever changed.

I've come to enjoy experiencing God this way. Do I long for dawn? Yes, more than anything. But there is something wildly exhilarating about knowing God is out there, just waiting. I think this is good for me because through most of my early life I was living a high noon type of spiritual life. I think I sort of took it for granted. I may have even come to resent it a little. I talked with a guy once that had spent several months in the Arctic Circle. The whole time he was there the sun never went down. He said it was nice for a while but it eventually became exhausting. He couldn't sleep, his body clock got all screwed up. He said he found himself hoping for and even seeking out darkness just so he could feel normal. I've said that but now I'm not sure its a great analogy. I never wanted to be out of the light, never sought darkness. I do think I became exhausted. My Christianity was based more on adherence to rules than reliance on grace. That'll wear you down after a while.

I have become thankful for the night. The transition was a bitch, but the rest is nice. Its here in the night that I've experienced times of real peace. I've begun to see and experience the heart of Christ. Growth isn't as constant as it might be in the sun, but when the lightning comes its powerful and change happens instantly. Between strikes there is calm - between them I find Jesus. Yesterday I was unable to understand and experience God and Jesus at the same time. I saw God's hand, but not Jesus' heart. I hope that when tomorrow comes I'll be able to simultaneously experience both (I think that's the center point of the cross). For now I'm grateful for the experience of the night - resting in the arms of Christ, waiting for lightning to strike again.

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