Thunder and Lightning
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” Revelation 19:6 (ESV)
The sky grew dark. The air thickened with heat and humidity. The dark clouds blinked as if flashbulbs were snapping a thousand pictures inside. Pellets of rain began to tap at the windows. Before long the afternoon summer shower intensified. Lightning cracked in the dark sky outside followed a few seconds later by the low rumble of thunder. Crack. Rumble. Crack Rumble. As the storm moved closer the wait time between thunder and lightning diminished. Like labor pains getting closer together as birth approached, thunder and lightning rolled into one loud crack-boom without a breath between them. Windows shook. Lights flickered. The sky lit up and then exploded with a cacophony of thunderous sound.
Living in Florida brings a multitude of thunderstorms throughout the summer. You see, Florida is the lightning capital of the United States. It has the most electric weather in the nation. Ten of the top fifteen cities for lightning strikes are located in Florida-all of which are within a 60 mile radius of my house. Intense summer thunderstorms are a regular part of life down here.
John in the book of Revelation compares the sound of praise in heaven to the mighty peals of thunder, and thunder has a mighty peal! Thunder is loud. Thunder shakes buildings. Thunder rattles windows. Thunder vibrates the ground. Thunder is not silent.
Thunder is caused by lightning.
It is the intense heat from lightning that causes thunder. Lightning averages 36000 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat causes air to rapidly expand which in turn creates a sonic wave –heard as thunder. Because light travels faster than sound, we see lightning before we hear thunder. The closer you are to the lightning the shorter the gap between sight and sound. So, when I was simultaneously seeing the bolts of lightning and hearing the boom of thunder-the strikes were very close to home.
Thunder is a bi-product of lightning. No lightning. No thunder.
When John describes the praise of heaven as being like thunder, it is because the praise of heaven is a direct result of being in the presence of God. Thunder is loudest when it is closest to the lightning strike. Thunder can’t be heard if the lightning is more than 12 miles away.
Our praise to God is loudest when we are closest to Him. When we are in His presence, our praise is automatic. Our praise is audible. Our praise moves us. Our praise shakes us. Our praise vibrates around us. God is the lightning. We are the thunder. He flashes. We praise. Lightning. Thunder.
As we move away from God’s presence our praise diminishes. It is reduced to a low rumble or a faint whisper. The less we experience His power in our life the more difficult it is to hear our praise.
So, let’s stay close to Him. Let’s look for His presence around us. When we see a flash of it, let’s whisper or thunder a praise automatically (context is important-you don’t want to shout inappropriately in the jury box).
Lightning and thunder they go together. You can't have one without the other.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.