“Are we going to get killed?” I was too scared to answer. Besides, I was only 12 and the question came from my 10 –year- old brother; what did I know? We had walked through the woods all day long, sometime in late May. In Texas that can mean deadly thunderstorms. We were by a creek two miles from home.
The sky lit up, the hair on the back of our necks stood up, and then the thunder! Less than a second between the light and the sound; that is a bad sign. The smell of burnt electrical wire insulation was next. That means we were nearly struck by lightning. We stayed low to the ground and stayed perfectly still. That continued for about 10 minutes, but it was a fast-moving storm, so as quick as that had happened, then just as suddenly came the sound of large drops of water hitting all around us.
I do not have words to express how relieved we were when the rain started and the thunder and lightning subsided! I thought I heard brother crying , but on close inspection, he was laughing! The relief was amazing. I have had few emotions that matched that event.
C.S. Lewis once said something that has caused several people to question me on the meaning. I think the question comes because people think that accepting Christ into your heart starts as seeing your need to be saved well enough , but surely not something that would start in fear? Yes, very much so!
“Of course I agree that Christianity is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay I’ve been describing, ( that deep down we all agree with the moral law of God and yet we all fail it, and we sense the dread of its demands) and it’s just no good trying to go on to that comfort without that dismay ( the misery and fear of God’s rightful judgement against you personally for your sin, and you sensing the hopelessness of that reality). In Christianity , as in the war ( in the middle of WW 11) and in everything else, comfort is the one thing you can’t get by looking for it. If you are looking for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you’re your looking for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth- only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with, and in the end, despair.” Lewis, “Case For Christianity” P. 28.
This truth is expressed in Romans 7. “ For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin,,, I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good,,, I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin,,, wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Think of a line from the song, “ Amazing Grace.” “ Was grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.” What an ironic statement. A dread comes before we are ready to be saved. The revelation of our deep need must come before the gospel can give us a new life. The old life has to be abandoned. We need more than a little remodeling! We are ruined without Christ!
So after the “thunder” of the Law of God and its righteous demands, come the sweet “rain” of the gospel. We knew how helpless we were, that day in the woods, to save ourselves from electrocution. Pray for those who think the gospel is simply a remodeling program, to make us a little bit better as people. Pray for those who say, “Well, I have done wrong, but I am still a pretty good person!” That person will never feel the sweet rain, after the storm. They refuse to see their need. They do not see the Law of God and the despair of their miserable failure to keep it. There is a storm coming. Are you ready? JWP “ Was blind, but now I see.”