In lightning

The Grand Canyon I get.
Niagara Falls.
Paricutin Volcano.
Even Mount Everest.
I completely understand - or at least to my own satisfaction - why God created these wonders. I mean, think about the Grand Canyon. I've been there. I bought rock souvenirs. I put a quarter in the binoculars and looked all the way down. And I've gotta say, that's just one really big hole. I mean, REALLY BIG HOLE. It must be admired.
The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia,
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Mount Fuji in Japan.
I get them all. I really do.
But this evening, standing with a friend, talking about the hand of God, watching a thunderstorm move in, what I didn't get, what I couldn't quite grasp, was lightning. The jagged flashes, the blinding light, the fidgety movement, it just seems like a lot of work for a natural occurrence that doesn't occur all that often. I mean, it's here, it's there. And when it's here, it moves so fast you think it's there. It really serves no purpose other than keeping those Cox repairmen busy.
It wasn't too concerned by my doubts. It just kept moving in closer and closer, no hesitation, no awkward social greeting. It invaded the evening without even an "excuse me, is this a bad time?"
For me, lightning has always served as a warning. This is the light show before the big guns get going. Lightning means I need to check the weather channel for tornado warnings. Lightning means I'm about to get rained on. Lightning is the precursor to big things to come.
And as my friend and I stood there, watching this electric symphony, the thought became clearer and clearer. This thing, this natural spasm of positive ions and electrons, this deadly and untamable reaction, is just to get our attention. God didn't want us to ignore what was coming so He sent the attention grabber on ahead.
It isn't all that different from life. Sometimes God sends us a little lighting, a little bolt of heat that cracks our sky, shakes things up a bit, rattles our senses, and leaves us blinking in the dark. It could come through disasters, disappointments, or even...I don't know....budget cuts at work? Just a thought.
So now, ending my fourth day of unemployment rather late (because I was out watching the lightning storm, you got that already didn't you?), I'm wondering if this is only the attention grabber. Maybe this is the pre-show, an act I couldn't ignore because God needed to get my attention to prepare me for bigger things to come. (I'm not alone here. You might want to check your skies.)
Here's how I'm going to handle it. I'm not going to hang out under trees. I'm not going for a late night swim. And I'm not going to stick my tongue to a metal pole. I'm going to shut up and pay attention and hope lighting really doesn't strike in the same place twice.
Tara Lynn Thompson