by Emily Conrad
I’ve been reading through the story of David, and as I’m winding down, I read this morning the psalm recorded in 2 Samuel. David speaks of crying to God for help and God responding by shaking the earth and doing all kinds of extravagant, powerful, awesome things on David’s behalf.
In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called to my God.
From his heavenly temple he heard my voice;
he listened to my cry for help.
The earth heaved and shook;
the foundations of the sky trembled.
They heaved because he was angry.
Smoke ascended from his nose;
fire devoured as it came from his mouth;
he hurled down fiery coals.
2 Samuel 22:7-9, NET
I sat in my Adirondack chair in my weedy back yard in my small Midwestern city and thought to myself, “I don’t need all of that.” I’d settle for clear direction on what to do in one situation. Maybe two. I’d settle for this or that kind of security.
Certainly heaven and earth needn’t shake. Fiery coals? No thanks, God. My battles aren’t this important.
I don’t need you to love me like this, God.
I haven’t seen the sky tremble or earth heave lately, so maybe he agrees.
Or maybe I’ve just closed my eyes to my own needs and the mighty ways God works.
If our Bible is true, if our God is the same yesterday, today, and always, then heaven and earth still shake at his command and he still hurls down fiery coals in answer to his servant’s cries for help.
Just because we don’t see it with our eyes does not for a moment mean that these things aren’t happening in the spiritual realm. Or even in the physical one.
God does love us like that. And here’s another thing: we do need him to.
It’s that move-heaven-and-earth kind of love that sent Jesus to the cross for our sins. It’s that love that blankets our souls in peace. It’s his hand that gives us all good things. The blessings we pray for and later receive, God plucked and gave to us. He spoke them into being with his fiery breath.
There is so much my eyes cannot see. I’ve never seen God, nor have I seen fire issue from his mouth. But I have seen answered prayer. I have pleaded with God for years and had the honor of watching him answer. Whether or not I think I deserve it, God has declared his love for me as one of his children, and because he’s claimed me as his own, he fights my battles with the power only he possesses.