“These are my life’s achievements”
Today in Sacramento there was an actual thunder storm. As someone from the Midwest, I can say 'real' thunderstorms are rare in California. Today, though, my girls were eating their breakfast and I was making coffee in my aero press when, in a matter of two seconds, the power went out and there was an enormous clap of thunder that set off my car alarm. I smiled with delight. Haddisen (3 years old) was shocked and then smiled. Bryleigh (4 years old) put her hands over her ears and cried.
I calmed the situation and then explained what thunder really is. I explained that it is one of my favorite things.
I also told them the story of Nikola Tesla, the brilliant inventor, engineer, and designer of the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system, who was known to sit near his window during a thunder storm. He would sit and wait until the next thunder clap when he would rise to his feet to give God a standing ovation.
Pslam 96:5-8 says: "But the LORD made the heavens Splendor and majesty are before Him Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. ASCRIBE to the LORD, O families of the peoples ASCRIBE to the LORD glory and strength ASCRIBE to the Lord the glory of His name."
"Ascribe" means to attribute something to something or someone else. We are to attribute great and powerful and beautiful things to God. The LORD does and provides these things; they are not coincidence or simply natural reactions. God is to be ascribed these things.
The girls loved this idea and for the rest of the morning we all three clapped for God with each thunder roll and clap. Haddie would even copy me each time saying, "Dadda, how cool!!!"
There is a great value to self-examination within the day to day walk with and after Christ, but it ought to be more than a solely self-examination. It is why the Psalmist prayed, "Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Ps. 139:23-24) When we do the necessary work of self-examination we must invite God to search along with us and reveal the things He will. We do this because when left to our own, we have two primary tendencies, both of which are destructive to the honest heart after God.
Our first tendency is to praise ourselves too highly. If we do not ask God to search our hearts and reveal, we will make excuses for every wicked or troublesome thing in our heart and mind. We will make light of dark things, which ought to be dealt with.
Our other tendency is to blame ourselves too heavily. If we do not ask God to search and reveal, we will tirelessly break ourselves down. For some of us God is entirely more gracious toward our sin than we would ever dream of being for ourselves.This is why we need God to search and reveal our true heart's condition.
God is fully aware of our tendency toward one of these extremes (I find myself in the latter most often). Because He is aware of our tendency, and because He knows too much SELF-examination does more harm than good, He presents in the Psalms how we ought to search and reveal the sin in our lives. We go about this with humility and grace, only God can accomplish that balance with perfection. Only God will draw us in humility and grace for self in order to balance between the extremes of praise and blame.
“His eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.”
We are able to see God in the things he has made. If we would take more time to notice these things we would come to see him and know him more clearly.
We would stand at the lip of the Grand Canyon unaffected. A huge problem is that we have lost all wonder. Nothing amazes us anymore. We grow more and more numb to the amazing! We forget how powerful God really is because none of these things amaze us anymore.
Remember being scared to death of a thunderstorm? Remember when the Grand Canyon WAS amazing before seeing it in a million pictures? We lose all the wonder when trees, natural running streams and crashing waves, enormous mountains are no big deal to us. We see them every day, in pictures or as we walk outside. But we forget the amazing things we learned in elementary school; about how trees grow, the details about how waves are created. We forget all those things because we learn it and are no longer amazed.
We do our ability to praise a disservice! We do God a disservice when we are no longer amazed by these things. Praise is our amazement expressed! The problem is that we simply are not amazed!