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Theology

Thunderstorms, Intense Heat, and Frigid Winter Nights

When I arrived in Omaha a few weeks back, the humidity was so high that it was literally hard for me to breathe.  I was coming out of a climate in South Africa that, in winter, is very, very dry.  Those first few days in Omaha were filled with extremely high temperatures, even reach a heat index of 110F a few days.

After a day of being home, Carly and I went to Aurora, Nebraska, about two hours west of Omaha, to visit her parents.  A day before we left, there was a massive tornado in Aurora that left a country house to shreds and ripped off some paneling from a building across the street.  During the first night in Aurora, lightning, loud claps of thunder, and heavy rain rolled through.

As I thought about these summer phenomenons, I couldn’t help but think about the polar opposite effects of winter: unbearable cold, numbing winds, ice showers, blizzards, early darkness and the like.

The weather — be it intense heat, frigid cold, white-hot lightning, or freezing snowstorms — is a whisper of God’s power.  We might be tempted to think there is nothing more frightening than a powerful tornado raging toward a farming community or a blizzard that is just waiting to strike a metropolitan area.

But there is something more frightening.  Imagine the intense heat of God’s judgment for those who do not believe in his Son Jesus.  Imagine the sound of God’s voice thundering in the heavens over an unrepentant sinner.  Imagine the lonely, frozen darkness he will experience in his heart for all eternity.

The good news is that there is hope for everyone who’s still alive.  The good news is that we do not have to be judged because Jesus, on the cross, became a curse for us, so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  The invitation is for all those who are near and far off.  It is free for the taking, but if it is rejected, the worst summer and winter that could be imagined will shudder in comparison.