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A few years ago, I went tent camping alone in the Manistee National Forest of Northern Michigan for 5 days. I don’t do nearly as much outdoor expedition activity as I’d like (hiking, camping, etc.), so this was a real treat. I wanted to hear from God and experience God with as few distractions as possible. While I wasn’t truly vulnerable, having my car parked nearby, I definitely got to taste human vulnerability much more than I do on a daily basis. I camped in the middle of July and had very pleasant weather. But I remembering laying in my tent in the black stillness of the night, listening to the wind blow, thinking about all of the cultures and civilizations that lived on this earth in a similar state as I was in. Civilizations that lived in connection with nature, as a part of it, rather than separated and sheltered from it, knowing that they were a part of something bigger than themselves.
There was a sense of humility and worship around all of it. A sense of awe of God’s raw power. His power to bring up life from the dirt, create the balance of life that I participate in, and the fear and awe of being exposed to the elements in all of their beauty, grandeur, and terror.
This is where the psalmist takes us in Psalm 29. He ascribes might acts of nature to the voice of the Lord. That his voice is over the mighty waters… that is thunders… is powerful… is majestic… it breaks the cedars, breaking them into pieces…it strikes with flashes of lightning… it shakes the desert… it twists the oaks and strips forests bare…
The response to such power is that all cry, “Glory!”
In this setting, it’s impossible to forget who God is and who we are. That God is on the throne and we are weak and vulnerable before him. There is something healthy about this sobering, worshipful humility.
In fact, if we forgot how holy God really is (verse 2), the grace and mercy he gives us is cheapened. It was this God who came to earth to die for our sins. This God who extends his hand of love, forgiveness, and mercy to me. This God whom I call Father and whom calls to me, “Son.”
We have to remind ourselves how big of a deal our salvation is. How huge the expanse between us and God is and thus how huge the amount of love we get to receive to fill in that gap.
Invitation to reflection:
Prayer for the day: Thank you for the reminder of your majesty and might. Humble me before your presence. The world around me tells me I am a god. Tells me I am to rule and that all should revolve around me. Remind me of your loving power. Remind me that you are the creator and sustainer of the earth. Remind me of a time before social media, before the stock market, even before electricity and sturdy housing. Remind me of the many people of faith who came before me, who were dependent on you, because their lives depended on it. Give me that type of dependency on you. Jesus be my fuel in this crazy culture. This culture where the tide pulls so strong away from you. Be my fuel. Be my food. Be my comfort, my refuge, my shelter, and my strength.
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