Had King David lived in Ontario, I think a September day might well have inspired him to write Psalm 19. You know the sort – where the sapphire sky beckons your gaze irresistibly upward and your heart craves something more. It’s nothing less than a glimpse of the eternal. The breeze is like a heavenly hug – mostly summer, but scented with an undeniable hint of autumn glory just ahead. Satisfaction and anticipation are all wrapped up together in the wide open spaces. You close your eyes and breathe in deeply, trying to hang onto something that cannot be captured.
On just such an afternoon Jack and I set off on a motorcycle ride. Thunderstorms were forecast for late evening, predicted to usher in a cold front and several rainy days ahead. But that was hours away. We planned to tour the shoreline of the Nottawasaga Bay and return through the Grey County highlands. The words of the Psalm echoed merrily in my mind: The heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim his handiwork.
An hour or so later the distant panorama over the lake was dark and threatening. Venturing any closer would surely get us drenched. The sun continued to shine toward the southwest, so we changed direction and altered our plans. I suggested stopping at a restaurant along the new route. With blue skies ahead we left the darkness behind. Or so we thought.
Jack was dreaming about dessert when the dining room exploded with the sound of cell phones receiving a tornado warning from Environment Canada. What a racket! We quickly paid the bill and stepped out into the parking lot, shocked to see those dark skies nearly overhead – big black clouds throbbing ominously.
We hurried home with light still on the horizon. Slowpokes are everywhere when you’re in a rush. We safely passed some massive farm machinery, only to get stuck behind a transport truck and trailer. He traveled at a snail’s pace as the wind buffeted the rig. With no chance to get around we plodded on, trying to ignore the relentless darkness in the rear view mirrors.
Even storms are sacred
At last we pulled into our driveway, nearly giddy with relief. With the bikes in the garage we stared out at the approaching storm. The words of another hymn rattled through my memory – His chariots of wrath the deep thunder clouds form, and dark is his path on the wings of the storm.
Within minutes the eerie darkness hovered over us. Suddenly the sky erupted. Thankful to be safe and sound in the house, we watched the show – thunder, lightning, sheets of rain and some hail for the big finale.
In those dramatic moments it occurred to me – the heavens declare his glory! Praise flows easily from a grateful heart when the sun is shining and the world is warm and beautiful. But what a mistake it would be to miss the glorious presence and power of the Lord as demonstrated in the sacredness of a storm. The skies proclaim his handiwork whether they’re deep blue or fiercely black.
Creation has been called God’s second book. Psalm 19 moves from the testimony of nature to the wonder and importance of his word. It closes with a heartfelt prayer – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
Lessons learned from nature apply to life itself. That’s our calling – to recognize the gracious sovereignty of God, in all circumstances and situations. Whether we like the weather or not!
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