Last Friday evening, a good old Kansas thunderstorm was trying to blow in from the west.
By the time we were getting ready for bed, the winds were kicking up and the lightning was really flashing. Aaron, who loves storms…especially nighttime storms…was very excited at the prospect of a lightning show, seen clearly from his upstairs westward facing windows.
“Mom, I want to keep my blinds open,” he informed me as we went through his bedtime routine. I knew he would want to do this. Every time we have a storm when it’s time for bed…or the prospect of a storm during the night…Aaron wants to keep his blinds open so that he can see the lightning in all its bright glory.
I’m glad that he’s not scared. In fact, I join Aaron in his love of watching lightning. That’s why, after I told him goodnight, I went straight to the bedroom on the other end of the hall. We still call this room “Andrea’s room,” even though she hasn’t lived here for years.
I stood at the windows there, in the dark, enjoying the gorgeous light show at this perfect vantage point. I was actually having a little worship service right there. Seeing God’s power displayed like this in nature makes me feel so small as I’m reminded of how big God is.
I was also reminded of a time several years ago when Gary and I were going through some deep waters. God drew me to Isaiah 40 one morning. Reading of God’s might in creation really soothed my heart. Isaiah said that the nations are like a drop in a bucket…we are like grasshoppers…that God stretches the heavens like a curtain…and that He created the stars and calls them by name.
A God with that much power and that much care over creation and over our affairs is surely a God big enough to handle my little problems that seemed huge to me!
These truths were going through my mind as I watched the lightning at Andrea’s windows and as I thanked God for His love and His power. But soon my private viewing of this storm was interrupted. I heard Aaron’s bedroom door open.
“Mom?” he asked as I heard his bare feet padding up the hall.
“I’m in here, Aaron,” I answered. “I’m watching the lightning.”
“Mom!!” he exclaimed as he joined me at the windows. “I saw it BIG!!”
So there we stood, side by side, watching each streak and each flash of lightning. Some were muted, but still beautiful. Then would come a huge burst of light, sometimes with jagged bolts, so bright it actually made us squint our eyes.
“There’s a BIG one!!” Aaron would say loudly as he rubbed his hands together and laughed.
Soon he was back in his bed for the rest of the storm, his blinds pushed up so that he could fully see and enjoy each bright burst of lightning.
I’ve thought a lot since that night about what Aaron saw and what he said. The lightning, so bright and stunning, was indeed impressive. No wonder Aaron couldn’t just lie in his bed, looking through his windows. No wonder he wanted to keep his blinds open so that he could fully see each flash. No wonder he just HAD to find me and to share his excitement.
“I saw it BIG!!”
I want to see God like that in my life. I want to see Him BIG, but not to just expect His bigness to be demonstrated in BIG events.
It’s like the lightning. God didn’t only create the huge flashes of light. He also created the softer, smaller bursts of light…even though they weren’t as impressive as the big and bold displays. All of God was in all the varying degrees of lightning that night.
I admit that I love the times when God is big and evident in my life. And don’t the huge answers to prayer…the “just perfect” verse for the hard times…the miraculous displays of His power…knock our socks off and give amazing testimony to His provision in our lives?
But so do the smaller events…the still, quiet voice…like the little storm cloud that Elijah saw on the horizon, the one that turned into a huge storm. Or later, how God spoke to Elijah – but not in the strong wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire. God chose that day to speak to Elijah in a gentle blowing, a soft whisper. But God’s power was just the same in the softness and smallness as it was at other louder and bigger times. The same God Who sent fire from heaven to consume Elijah’s sacrifice was the God Who also spoke to his servant in a whisper.
On my birthday last month, I found myself sad instead of happy. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Nothing bad had happened. I just missed Andrea and Kyle, and Andrew, and extended family. I don’t particularly enjoy holidays and special days for that reason. But instead of feeling God’s presence, I was allowing my birthday party to be a pity party instead.
I walked into Bath and Body Works to pick up some soaps. I always shop with a coupon. My mantra is “It was on sale and I had a coupon!” Just ask my kids. Anyway, I had no coupon because I had used mine a couple weeks earlier. I sighed, bit the bullet, and went inside to shop. My “no coupon” situation further amplified my sad day. Silly, I know, but that was where I was on that morning.
All of a sudden, a stranger walked up to me. She held out a coupon and asked me if I could use it. She said she had no need for it. I was so amazed! Such a simple act, but one that clearly touched my sad heart. I thanked her profusely, and then I told her that this day was my birthday. She was so delighted to hear that! She wished me a very happy birthday as she handed me the coupon and walked away. And my heart was lighter. I thanked the Lord as I drove home for that very sweet show of love for me in that moment…both the love shown by a stranger…and the love shown to me by my Heavenly Father. For I knew, in that very common and small gesture, that God was reminding me of His love and care for me.
I saw Him BIG in that little act!
Sometimes God shows Himself big here at home, in common events that I often see. Yet what I don’t always see is the bright touch of God. The commonplace can all too often hide God’s touch…not because God isn’t showing Himself to be there…but because I too often keep the blinds of my heart closed. I just don’t pay attention to what He is wanting me to see.
Aaron had a seizure at the supper table one recent night. Gary and I had worked all day on projects around the house. We were both dirty and tired, especially Gary. When Aaron suddenly started seizing, Gary immediately went to his side and held him so that he wouldn’t fall out of the chair. Thankfully, Aaron was safe. As he came out of the seizure and was more aware of his surroundings, Gary knelt down by Aaron’s chair and just talked to him. The look in Aaron’s eyes as he looked into Gary’s eyes was just precious. I snapped this picture.
As I have looked at it, I realize that right there was God’s big love shining out of Gary to his son. I am so thankful for this husband who walks beside me in life, and who also kneels down to care for our Aaron.
And also grateful that I looked through the open windows of my heart, blinds up, and saw what I know God wanted me to see. His power and love was shining through Gary to Aaron, and also to me. What a gift, all too often taken for granted! Just like the Kansas storms that we get accustomed to seeing and hearing, so I can get accustomed to the care of this good man that God has given me.
Oh God, may I “see it BIG,” every day. May I see YOU…BIG…in the joys and the sorrows; in the small and the large; in the friend and the stranger; in the familiar and the new; in the mundane and the unique; and in our home, all around me, every day.