I sit this morning amazed by the stillness around me. We had a thunderstorm last night with pounding rain and flashing lightning but it is hard to imagine that as I sit quietly drinking in the beauty of God’s world. The air is clean, the mountains crystal clear, the birdsong loud and exuberant.
This has been a stormy week, and like many of us I feel battered and worn. The shootings in Orlando first of a young Christian singer and then the mass killings at the Pulse nightclub, as well as the shooting of a young British politician left us all reeling. Hatred and vitriol have thundered around us exacerbated by the growing political animosity and name calling. In my own life the sudden death of a friend and the turmoil of my own uncertain health issues swirl around me. Even the internet trolls had a go at me.
Storms make it hard to focus and even harder to draw close to God. It is not easy to move beyond the thunder of strident angry voices raised in judgement and condemnation. The supercharged atmosphere caused by violence and animosity incites us to respond with our own violence and anger. But in the aftermath of a storm, the gentle whispers of God’s voice can be heard with amazing clarity, if we are willing to listen to them.
After a storm is always a good time to look, to listen and to take notice. Colours shine with a vibrant light, sounds resonate with fresh melodies and sights seem vivid with new life. And in the stillness I become aware of God’s gentle whisper, beckoning me to rest, to refresh and to receive comfort.
Yet taking notice of the vibrant clarity that comes in the aftermath of a storm is a deliberate choice. We must stop and look and listen. Sometimes we would rather hide from God and live in the chaos where supercharged emotions control us. We are afraid to reach out for the inner peace that God’s gentle whisper offers us because it comes at a cost we may not be willing to accept – the letting go of our resentments and prejudices or the loss of personal freedoms in the pursuit of the common good. Or perhaps it means the letting go of fear itself in order to allow the love of God to embrace us.
What is your response?
What are the storms in your life that have cleared the air, and made your perspectives of God more vibrant and alive?
Watch the video below and imagine you are sitting in the middle of a storm. Clap your hands imagining the sound of thunder, and the flash of lightning. How do you feel? Now think of the storms that rage in your own life and in the world around you. Clasp your hands tightly together. What thoughts and emotions thunder in your mind? What fears and anxieties flash like lightning for you? What fears and anxieties rise the the surface and overwhelm you?
Now imagine the storm has passed. Sit quietly with your eyes closed listening for the gentle whisper of God’s voice. Open your eyes, unclasp your hands and sit with your palms upward. What do you notice? What seems most vibrant and alive to you? How does it change your perceptions of the chaos within and around you? Offer a prayer to God releasing the fears and anxieties of your storm. rest in the stillness of God’s presence.