At our house, one of the members of our family who plays a unique role in the dynamics of our lives is Scooter, the dog. He’s a small, friendly-natured guy who’s a fixture, really, and part of the everyday routine we enjoy. He’s a rescue dog we got from our local pet store. He usually goes with us, when we say, ‘Let’s go.’ And when we are at home, he seems totally content to just sleep on the couch and chill. I don’t think he gives much thought to the idea that he is totally dependent on us. We make sure he is fed, every day; he has fresh water that we refill when necessary. And on Sundays, when we get home from church, Scooter is always thrilled to see us, always greets us at the door as if we’ve been gone for weeks. Our little dog has a special place in our hearts, for sure.
But recently, we’ve had some afternoon showers in our town. And I’ve noticed that when it thunders, Scooter is afraid. It doesn’t even have to be loud thunder. He hears the thunder, even when it comes from lightening miles away. He can’t see the source of the loud noise, but just hearing it is enough to cause him to shiver in fright and try to hide. When thunder happens, he leaves his perch on the back of the couch, and finds what he thinks is a safer place in the middle of my wife’s lap. Thunder, no matter how loud, makes Scooter the dog afraid.
Everyone knows, of course, that thunder is harmless. It’s just a noise. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say ‘everyone knows,’ because Scooter doesn’t know. Somehow, he suspects that something he can’t see is making its ominous presence known. When the lightening that produces the thunder is close by, the clap is loud and booming. When the lightening is miles away, the rumbling sound is lessened, but it still causes fear in Scooter the dog. We do our best to console him, hold him close, tell him not to be afraid. But I’m not sure it helps. Even though Scooter never worries about what he’ll eat, because we feed him, and he never worries about what he’ll drink because we make sure he has fresh water. Even though he’s a member of the family and our constant companion … when it thunders, he’s afraid.
I’d like to think that I’m not afraid of the thunder, like Scooter is, but if I’m totally honest, I’m not sure that’s true. It seems to me that thunder comes in a variety of packages. If I look at the happenings of this world and the ominous clouds of chaos that are visible everywhere I look, the thunder of my worry frightens me. The ‘imminent’ or unavoidable or even catastrophic happenings make a thunderous loud noise all around me. But my God has rescued me from such worrisome things, and has faithfully demonstrated the he is my shelter, my food, my very life. I am determined that the noise of the thunder will not draw my attention away from him. When the thunder booms loudest, I will remember that I have a loving God to hold me close.
“For I hold you by your right hand — I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.'” (Isa. 41:13)