Then Sings My Soul…

I miss good old Southern Thunderstorms. They can be violent, dangerous and a bit frightening, but there’s beauty in the untamed, wild storm. I know I’m not the only one. There’s something soothing and spiritual about sitting on the porch, feeling the wind and rain and watching the lightning flash across the sky. It seems counter-intuitive, but I never really thought about it.

A few years ago, I was working on a message for our youth. It had started out of the first chapter of Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love” called “Stop Praying”. As you can imagine, when I first got the book and saw that chapter, I was questioning Chan’s theology, then I read it. The chapter isn’t about giving up on prayer, but rather considering what it is you’re doing when you go to prayer. He draws from the books of Isaiah and Revelation to remind us of the majesty and glory of the throne room.

Much like this chapter of “Crazy Love”, the now-classic hymn “How Great Thou Art” takes a similar approach to praise and worship. Just as we should pray without ceasing, we should worship without ceasing, but sometimes we need to stop and consider why we do what we do. So how does a Southern Thunderstorm apply to this? Swedish author Carl Boberg wrote the foundation of the hymn after a thunderstorm, as he walked around and observed the raw power of the storm, and what it left in its wake. It’s that experience that led him to write:

Oh Lord My God When I in Awesome Wonder
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

He saw the mighty power of God displayed in nature, something we all too often fail to do. The natural world around us become mundane, normal. We forget the power and majesty on display. After Boberg stopped and soaked in the reality around him anew he follows with:

And when I think that God His son not sparing,
Sent him to die I scarce can take it in
That on the cross, my burdens gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

Scripture tells us in Romans 5:8 that is was while we were still lost in sin that God sent his son to us. When you praise the Lord, this should also fuel your worship. You were lost, broken, and rebelling against God, but not in spite of, but because of our sinful state, Christ came to earth to teach and to die for us. How can we not say to that “How Great Thou Art” when we consider this?

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow with humble adoration
And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art

Scripture tells us in Romans 5:8 that is was while we were still lost in sin that God sent his son to us. When you praise the Lord, this should also fuel your worship. You were lost, broken, and rebelling against God, but not in spite of, but because of our sinful state, Christ came to earth to teach and to die for us. How can we not say to that “How Great Thou Art” when we consider this?

Then Sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great thou art, how great thou art

It is AFTER he’s observed the power of God in nature that he worships and praises God. Not to improve his mood, or get his head in the right place, but in response to the natural world around him. Many people worship nature, and when you think of nature in the way that Boberg did, it’s not hard to understand why some go that way, nature is full of majesty and glory that should lead us to praise, but where nature worshipers draw short is in thinking that there is nothing more than that. They don’t look beyond nature to who created it in the first place. Scripture, after all, tells us “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).