There is a smile on my face as me and my buddies ascend a mountain in the middle of a snow storm. As the chair lift dumps us off at the 11,000 foot level the wind increases in velocity and visibility decreases considerably. We’re headed to the legendary back bowls of Vail and I’m hoping my Colorado friends can remember how to get there with familiar landmarks hidden in a virtual white-out.
As we traverse a ridge that will take us to a bowl of trackless powder, the wind and snow increase in intensity. Suddenly, I can’t see my friend 10 feet in front of me as the snow turns into tiny pellets that feel like needles hitting my face. I know that stopping is not an option as we need to get off that wind-ravaged crest. Nothing like skiing blind to make all your senses come fully alive.
Due to my passion for outdoor adventure, I’ve been exposed to the forces of nature many times—powerful wind, driving snow, torrential rain, sub-zero cold, steep ocean waves, violent thunder & lightning. And there is something about these forces that draws me to them, wanting to experience them. This is why I was smiling, feeling intense exhilaration during that white-out in the Rockies.
Reflecting on why this is so, it is because I feel the intensity and power of God in these situations—the One who creates and unleashes natural forces that reveal who he is. I am awakened to the reality that God is not soft and weak but dangerous and dreadful. He commands our respect. He is strong when we are frail. And we realize what David said about him is true:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…The Lord Almighty is with us…” (Psalm 46)
A Challenge: Next time a strong wind, driving rain, or some force of nature intensifies, bundle up, get out and be in it for a while. See what God might reveal to you about himself as you feel the intensity of a storm. I’d be delighted to hear back from you about your experience.