Suhocki (The Upper Room Disciplines) writes that the Psalm uses descriptive language to paint a picture of a fierce storm. This storm is not the gentle rain that nourishes the storm. This is a stom that uproots trees, with thunder and lightening, that is (as Peterson translates it) tympanic and symphonic. However, She notes that this ferocity is bookended by blessings. The beginning of the Psalm starts with a blessing to God. Then with a plessing to God’s people. She suggests that the blessings of covenant provide a respite, a word of hope for us in the midst of life storms. It’s the difference, she says, between being caught out in the elements, and watching a storm through the window of a safe building. By knowing that we have a home in the midst of storms, she suggests we can face storms with confidence and courage.
Far too often, I find myself traveling thousands of miles to avoid the storms. A situation arises at the church, one that has the potential for explosive confrontation, and it seems a whole lot easier to stick my head in the sand rather than travel through the storm. As Suhocki wisely notes, I do this because I don’t fully trust God to get me through the storm. My faith is not at the point that I have that sense of safety and security which gives confidence and courage. So I bail, wiggle, avoid confrontation.
However, the storms are absolutely necessary in the life of the church. As painted by the Psalmist, this storm uproots dead wood, and leads folks to a deeper sense of God’s power. In our desire to avoid conflict, are we losing sight of God? By taking the safe path, are we not becomming what we ought to be?