It’s in Control: The God Who Is IN and OF the Storm

by Grant McClung


mcclung, pin1“The God of glory thunders.” (Ps. 29:3; Rev. 4.5; 10:3-4)

Promotional ads have launched the latest disaster movie, “Into the Storm.” The film unfolds the events of a single day as the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come.

Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. Viewers are brought into an up-close adrenalin rush through the eyes and lenses of professional storm chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs, and courageous townspeople.

Our culture and our media have produced a 24/7 news addiction to storms and storm stories. Storms and unusual weather outbreaks are the stuff of daily headlines on every major news outlet, making the Weather Channel one of the most popular TV options and people like Jim Cantore and Al Roker household names. Superstorms, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, on and on, occur with increasing frequency and tempo—in all parts of the globe. Storms are serious stuff.

As an outdoorsman and shepherd, the Psalmist David was exposed to the raw power of storms. He wrote about them in Psalm 29 (nicknamed “The Psalm of the Seven Thunders” because the phrase, “the voice of the Lord,” occurs seven times). He provides a graphic description of a massive thunderstorm [possibly a tornado] that was accompanied with shear winds, violent outbreaks of lightning, and the shaking of an earthquake.

The God of glory is thundering in our world today. What is He saying? What is He doing through the storms of natural catastrophes, political turmoil, demographic upheavals, and crumbling economic systems? From the standpoint of world evangelization, God is sovereignly at work among the peoples and nations, preparing them for the entrance of the gospel and the reign of the Kingdom of God.

When God acts and speaks, things begin to happen—in our world, in our community, and in our personal lives. From the lessons of Psalm 29, when God sends the storm, there is breaking, shaking, and staking.

1. When God speaks, there is breaking.

This breaking is listed two times in Psalm 29:5: “The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.” In the same way that a powerful desert thunderstorm breaks and crashes upon the landscape, Christ and His kingdom rule enter through the power of the gospel and breaks bondages, barriers, obstacles, and opposition. In describing the mission and vision of Jesus, the language of breaking and destruction is used in 1 John 3:8: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

2. When God speaks, there is shaking.

The storm moves on into the wilderness area, shaking the desert and twisting and stripping trees. Right now, in the spiritually dry places of the earth—the spiritual deserts, the spiritually destitute wilderness—earthly kingdoms are being shaken.

In the midst of this unsettling, changing, social upheaval, God is in control. He is shaking, stirring, and sending His people into all arenas of society with the life-transforming gospel. Let us pray for a breaking of spiritual opposition, for a shaking of gospel-resistant peoples and societies that will open the way for the preaching of the gospel and entrance of the kingdom rule of Jesus Christ.

In the face of opponents and detractors, Tertullian, a leader in the early Church described this offensive, outgoing nature of the gospel and the people of the gospel: “We have infiltrated the marketplace, the centers of power, the seats of learning, your senates and your schools, and your exchanges. We have left nothing for you but the temples of your gods.”

3. When God speaks, there is staking.

Although the term “staking” is not in the text of Psalm 29, it is evident that there are signs of Lordship, ownership, and possession. When one stakes a property, he or she shows that he or she has purchased it and claimed ownership to it. It means that there is a registered deed with the authorities that a legal transaction has taken place. Surveyors and property owners place a stake as a property marker, a boundary, a sign of ownership and possession.

In the global storms we are witnessing, we need to remember that the eternal God, the God of history, is in control; and He is staking, claiming His territory. Psalm 24.1 declares, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

“The world is mine,” Yahweh declares, “and all that is in it” (Psalm 50:12). In one of his memorable quotes, Abraham Kuyper, the Dutch statesman and theologian from the early twentieth century, stated, “There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!”

This is why the multiplying and planting of churches is so vital in our time. As new churches are planted as “communities of the king,” the influence of the gospel and the Lordship of Jesus Christ infiltrates and begins to pervade a new place—exchanging darkness with light, moral depravity and sin with righteousness and justice. God “stakes His claim,” His boundary of ownership through the presence of the people of God as salt and light.

Even in the midst of regional and global “storms,” in the trouble spots of our world, let us pray for a massive new wave of kingdom mobilization, wave upon wave of the people of God scattered among the nations and into unevangelized neighborhoods and communities.

We must be encouraged by the bold declaration in this Psalm that God is in control.  There are various Hebrew terms translated as “Lord” in the Old Testament. The most preeminent, prominent, and powerful of those is the term, “Yahweh” (meaning “I am that I am”). It is this name, “Yahweh” that is translated as “Lord” in this Psalm, and this name of our powerful God occurs 18 times in 11 short verses.

God is speaking and acting through the storms coming upon our world. As He does, there is breaking of bondages, shaking of superficialities, and the staking of His ownership as Lord and God.  “The God of glory thunders,” and His voice will continue to speak through the unfolding signs of the times. According to Jesus Christ, our Lord of the Harvest, the signs and the storms will be numerous with increasing frequency and intensity. But in the midst of the storms, His commission remains unchanged:

                   “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come” (Matt. 24.14).

 


McClung.PRphotos 003Grant McClung
is president of Missions Resource Group, is an Evangelvision blogger, and is and member of the EMQ Advisory Committee.  He serves on the Executive Committee of the World Missions Commission of the Pentecostal World Fellowship.

 

(Editor’s note: Grant will officially be joining the blogging community in September.)