dark thunderstorm cloud in the distance over a yellow field

Thunderstorms & Hardened Hearts

Psalm 29 is the perfect background music by which to worship our masterful Creator and majestic King, reminding us of His sovereignty and the power of His Word.

The ominous clouds I’d watched all morning finally released a torrent of rain, and with it, a fantastic fork lightning show. The cows in the pasture across from our house instinctively sought shelter in the trees at the bottom of the hill, but I couldn’t resist denying conventional storm safety rules. After closing all our windows, I snuck onto our balcony, sticking close to the house, aware of the danger. 

Dozens of out-of-control forest fires have burned through miles and miles of our province, and while our home is nowhere near the danger zone, northwest winds have brought the smoke our way and made breathing difficult for days at a time. So, as the thunder rumbled low and long, and the clouds sat stagnant above our neighborhood, I stood there on my forbidden perch, inhaled deeply, and soaked up the sights and sounds of this spring storm—just like the dust and dirt that absorbed every drop of this welcome rain. The rainstorm gave life-giving refreshment, and I wanted to absorb every particle of it.

An earth-shaking clap of thunder resounded, followed by rippling echoes that carried the mighty roar to the far east and west until it faded to foreboding silence. A giddy grin spread across my face and my eyes snapped open in wonder. My husband chuckled at my delight, like an adult amused over a child’s expressive amazement. I was amazed—by the magnificence and awesomeness of God’s handiwork—and humbled by my smallness.

Eventually, I went back inside to read Psalm 29—a personal tradition and an act of worship when I have the privilege of being home during a spectacular thunderstorm.

Psalm 29 begins with a call to give God glory (vv. 1-2). Then it describes the voice of the Lord in language reflective of a thunderstorm. 

The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. 
The God of glory thunders. 
The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. 
The voice of the Lord is powerful; 
the voice of the Lord is majestic…
The voice of the Lord strikes with bolts of lightning…
” (Psalm 29:3-4, 7 NLT)

Referring to verse 5, which says God’s voice “breaks the cedars”, Charles Spurgeon said, “When the Lord sends the word, it breaks hearts far stouter than cedars.” This is an encouragement to those who pray for God to soften the hardened hearts of loved ones. It’s also a reminder that, before Jesus saved me, my own heart was like a stone, hardened by sin. 

Verse 9 is a favorite of mine—”The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’” In fear of the tempest, timid creatures give birth early, and lightning reveals the darkness in the cover of the trees. As I watch the thrashing wind bend the trees and the rain pelt our windows, and as I hear the tumult from the darkened sky, I meditate on this dramatic picture of the power of God’s Word. 

The rain stopped, the clouds dispersed, and rivers of dirty water poured down the sides of our street. The ending of the psalm is so appropriate—

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; 
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever
” (v. 10).

As the sun re-emerged and the cows tentatively returned to the open grass in their pasture, I breathed a sigh of contentment and gratitude for the beautiful way God uses His creation to demonstrate who He is and to remind us of the truth of His Word. 

My prayer for you today is verse 11—

May the Lord give strength to [you]!
May the Lord bless [you] with peace!

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6 Responses

  1. Jana, this was so perfect for me to read today! I am working my way through the Psalms again, and actually just read Psalm 29 this morning. I highlighted that summarizing line, “The Lord reigns as king forever” (v 10). Thank you for sharing this, especially in light of hardened hearts that I’ve been praying for for so long. I will never comprehend His power; He reigns over all!

    1. It’s amazing how much comfort and encouragement we can glean from a six-word statement in God’s Word! Thanks for sharing, Cheryl!

  2. I feel like I could hear the loud thunder rolling through your words and the lightning through your eyes! I grew up on a dairy farms. This description is powerful to me although I never had the courage to stand on the patio during this kind of storm!! ????
    Also, I never stopped to ponder the beauty of Psalms 29 doing thunderstorms. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing all these powerful thoughts!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it, Cordelia! (And it’s wise to stay indoors during a storm like this!) Thanks for sharing these encouraging words!

  3. Whew! The God of glory thunders. And you worshiped. More, you helped me to worship.

    I’m finishing Job and paused again at this same truth in 37:15, “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways. He does great things beyond our understanding.”

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