Thunder in the Desert

Jen Wise // Thunder

I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of swallowing a tile for the Tile App.* Call me crazy, but everything I see on the news has me feeling like abduction is a possibility at any turn. Really I’d just like to pack up my family and hide out. Paranoid much? For sure. But the constant inundation of tragedies and unthinkable crimes has got me feeling like these are some dark days. It feels a bit like we’re walking under heavy clouds with only the occasional breakthrough of light. It’s the new normal, perhaps.

The thing we often forget though, is that the presence of God shines brightly, even amidst the clouds. We read the headlines, we watch a friend’s marriage come unraveled, we receive a diagnosis, and we pray, “God, be near! Come, heal us, our world!” All the while missing what’s all around us.

Richard Rohr describes it this way, “We cannot attain the presence of God because we are already totally in the presence of God. What is absent is awareness.” God is HERE. His presence is everywhere – all around. He’s here, with us, working to restore, to heal. He’s here, even when violence and hate have taken center stage. He’s here.

How would our lives be different if we lived with the full confidence of the total presence of God? What would we do if we dropped the posture of defeat and remembered that ultimately light conquers this darkness? That the clouds will lift and God’s peace and love will shine?

This is GOOD NEWS. This should give us hope for our world, and energy for joining in God’s restorative mission. I love in the Gospel of John when the Pharisees question John about his identity and he declares, “I’m thunder in the desert: ‘Make the road straight for God!” (John 1:23 MSG).

I don’t want to be the one swallowing a tile app and hiding out – I want to be THUNDER. I want my life, my actions, my words to declare the presence of God that is here now, and promises to make all things right. I want my life to declare good news, to rumble with freedom for the captives, and to ring with healing for the brokenhearted.

In a world engulfed in stormy clouds, we can be those murmurings. We can, in big ways and small ways, point to the healing, powerful presence of God that is all around us, yet so often missed. We can hint toward the promise of a whole and holy world.

And in doing so, we invite others to be a part. To set things right. To allow the God of Peace to infiltrate our hearts, our families, and our world.

Let’s recognize God’s presence all around us. Let’s refuse to be intimidated by the gathering clouds. And let’s live our lives as a raucous reminder that his light will conquer all darkness.

When we extend radical forgiveness – THUNDER.
When we make room at our table for one more – THUNDER.
When we lift up the weary, see the invisible, and speak for the voiceless – THUNDER.

I don’t want to be quiet and hide away. I don’t want to raise quiet children in a quiet family. We’re not going to whisper our way through life. We are going to THUNDER with hope, love, and joy. Won’t you join the chorus?

*Please do not swallow a tile from the Tile App. It may sound like a nice way to be found, but it is unsafe and could kill you. Duh.