Daily D – Job 36:32
He covers his hands with lightning and commands it to hit its mark. JOB 36:32 (CSB)
“He hurls arrows of light, taking sure and accurate aim.” (The Message)
“Can you send out lightning bolts, and they go? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?” (Job 38:35)
“Can you make lightning appear and cause it to strike as you direct?” (The Message)
_Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go_
(Songwriters: Story Laura Mixon, Indescribable lyrics © Laura Stories, Worshiptogether.com Songs, Sixsteps Music)
An electrician came to our house after Christmas to take care of some repairs and replacements for us. He is a good man full of wholesome humor and casual delight. He told us stories about being shocked in the course of his work. He also told us about a mistake that led to electrocution that could have taken his life but did not.
My bride then told him how I had been hit by lightning in our home years ago. Lightning hit a tree outside our bedroom, came through the foundation of our house, blew a hole in the floor behind me in the bathroom, went through me while I was blowdrying my hair, out the electrical lines, and blew a hole in the eave of our house on the way out. No big deal.
Well, I did turn quite green, I could not talk, and my ears rang from the thunderclap immediately above my head. The good news is that the pain I had experienced for some time in my left shoulder was suddenly gone. So there’s that.
Upon hearing this story, our friend the electrician said, “How do you feel when the Bible says that God directs the lightning where he wants it to go?”
How would you answer that question?
Every time I hear Chris Tomlin sing, “Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go,” I ponder afresh what happened that Friday morning just after 5:30 all those years ago. What year? I cannot remember. Just like our telephones and televisions were fried by the lightning, so was my memory of that date. You would think an event like that would be seared in my memory. (Insert rimshot here.)
As someone with a better-than-average memory, it bugs me to no end that I cannot recall what date and year this happened.
Back to the electrician’s question. An aunt of mine asked, tongue firmly planted in cheek, if that was like receiving a pink slip from my employer. Very funny. Since I pray for my work associates on Friday morning, some have asked who in particular I was praying for at that moment. Again, ha ha ha.
How do you make meaning out of moments like these?
I pondered many thoughts that day as I drove to Houston to stand with a family in our church in divorce court. The proceedings began first thing in the morning. Cold sweat and numbness accompanied me into that crowded courtroom where I accidentally sat next to the guy who had been abusing the family I was there to support.
When the electrician asked his question, the first thing that popped into my mind was Isaiah 43:2:
I will be with you
when you pass through the waters,
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not overwhelm you.
You will not be scorched
when you walk through the fire,
and the flame will not burn you.
In that moment, finally, at long last, I gained the perspective I have sought for the last twenty years or so. Things were about to get rocky and challenging in my life. Deep darkness, the darkest I had yet known, was coming. Our Father in heaven wanted me to know he would be with me.
I had just read this from Isaiah 41:10 shortly before the day fire from heaven fell upon our pine tree and house:
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you;
I will help you;
I will hold on to you
with my righteous right hand.
There is much more to this story as you can imagine. Reading Elihu’s statement to Job, and God’s question to Job, and hearing Chris Tomlin’s song, it is good to know that as surely as God directs his lightning bolts, he also directs us. When we walk closely with him, nothing can separate us from his loving concern and care.
Just to wrap a neat and tidy bow on this subject, listen to Jesus:
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
No one will snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all.
No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
I will walk with God through all the adventures of life.
Our Father, thank you for saving me that day. Thank you for guiding me since. Thank you that we still have miles to go together. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”