Question: What did the thunder say to the lightning? Answer: “You’re shocking.” Yeah, it’s a really corny joke. But it reminds me that thunder and lightning go together like macaroni and cheese. Thunderstorms are truly awesome things to behold — wind, rain, lightning — and of course, thunder! Thunderstorms always make me think about God, not only because of the tremendous power displayed, but because of Bible statements that talk about thunder and wind and God. In Psalm 18 King David gave a metaphorical description of how God came to the rescue when David called out for deliverance from powerful foes seeking to kill him. In verse 10 he wrote, “He [that is, God] rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind.” Then in verse 13 the inspired warrior / poet continued: “The Lord thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire.” Psalm 104:3 adds to this imagery that the Lord “lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind.” So it is, every time the high-speed wind of a severe thunderstorm blows through at 60 or 70 or even 80 mph, I wonder where God is going in such a hurry! And the thunder — oh boy! For minutes and miles after a thunderstorm has blown through and raced off to the east, the thunder still fills your ears as it rolls and reverberates in the distance. Experts say it can be heard from as far away as 10 miles. They also say the booms and rumbles and “rolls” we hear are the sounds of the thunder reaching us at different times from the sound produced all along its path. So, the thunder you hear may be nearby or it may be miles away.
Now consider words from 1Thessalonians 1:7-8 in the Bible. The apostle Paul wrote, “You became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.” The word for “sounded forth” in this passage in the Greek New Testament is a word that depicts something like thunder or a trumpet blast that causes reverberation or echoing (Earl Edwards, Truth For Today Commentary on 1 Thessalonians, p 25). The church of Christ at first century Thessalonica made a lot of noise! Gospel noise, that is! They were not “silent saints” and they were not stingy with good news they knew lost people could use and ill afford to not hear. To put it in the words of the New International Version, “the Lord’s message rang out” from them. There’s a lot we don’t know about them — size of their assembly, weekly contribution, annual budget, how many they baptized each year, even who the preacher and elders were. What we do know is the apostle Paul called them “examples” for all other believers. How so? They were committed to telling lost people the message of the gospel. A lot of people in our world are making a lot of noise about a lot of things. Questions are in order for each of us who are Christians. When was the last time I sounded forth the word of the Lord? Does my faith ever go outside, that is, outside the church building? How much noise am I making with the Gospel? Can we really be a silent church and be a sound church? Let’s be a noisy church!