The Glory of God in Disasters

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“The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.” – Psalm 29:4

For my personal devotions, I’m currently reading through the Psalms. Yesterday morning, I found myself in Psalm 29. It’s an absolutely stunning psalm in which David praises the God of Heaven for His power and glory that is manifested, not just in natural beauty, but also in thunderstorms and other natural disasters.

Kind of a strange concept, isn’t it? I mean does God really reveal His glory in something as scary as a thunderstorm? Does God really reveal His glory in something as devastating as a natural disaster? As I was reading that morning, I pondered these words from Psalm 29:9, “The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare…” Wow! The same God who allows the fawn to be born into the forest is the same God who allows the habitat of that same fawn to be devastated by a natural disaster. As crazy as it seems, the text of Psalm 29 seems to reveal that God’s power and glory are revealed, not just in natural beauty, but in natural disasters as well.

After contemplating this stunning text of Scripture for a few more minutes, I bowed in prayer: “Father God,” I said, “thank you for your Word and for the truth contained in it. Please help me to understand this particular truth about your power and glory being revealed in storms…in Jesus’ name…Amen.” A traditional devotional followed by a traditional prayer…or so I thought. Little did I know that God, in response to my prayer, would help me to understand this powerful truth by means of sending to me a powerful storm.

That very evening, Washington County received two tornado warnings followed by two strong thunderstorms. During the second storm, Lance (our Summer Intern) who was traveling home from work, had his Ford F-150 pushed into a ditch (off a gravel road) by sheer force of the powerful winds that contained gusts up to 70 mph. He was stranded and needed help, so I drove out to his location.

As I drove out to pick him up, my vehicle was pelted by blinding rain and strong hail. I could see practically nothing. I had to slam on my brakes a few times because of downed trees and other debris that was on the road. The storm was extremely intense. I was extremely scared. I definitely prayed a few passionate prayers en route to pick up Lance.

Thankfully, I was able to find Lance in the storm, and though he was pretty shook up, he was unharmed in the incident and his truck sustained no damages. “What a way to begin your internship,” I said. He gave a sheepish, glad-to-be-alive grin. Undoubtedly, this was one of the scariest storms Lance or I have ever experienced…

But do you know what came out after this storm? The sun! A beautiful, gorgeous sunset. It was just so incredible that something so beautiful could be preceded by something so scary. You know what else came out after this storm? Biblical Community. That’s right…Klint and Dillon Gingerich came out with their powerful truck to get Lance’s truck out of the ditch. In fact, as Dillon was getting back into his truck, Lance thanked Dillon and said, “Biblical Community, eh?” Dillon smiled. But do you know the greatest thing that emerged from this storm? Glory! God’s great glory in Him showing us His strength (Psalm 29:1) and God’s great glory in Him giving to us strength to get through a demonstration of His own strength (Psalm 29:11). What an incredibly enlightening lesson on the power and glory of our great God!

Yes, God is a God of great glory. His voice is powerful and full of majesty in both beauty and disaster. So, what should be our response? Worship. “Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness” (Psalm 29:1-2). Why? Because “the LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever” (Psalm 29:10). Thus, may “in His temple all cry, ‘Glory!'” (Psalm 29:9).

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