I love thunderstorms. I love to sit and watch the bolts of lightning that streak downward in stunning displays of light and power. But after yesterday, I don't think I'll ever look at lightning the same way again.
I was driving down Route 3, on my way home from a week as the Bible teacher at Camp Fairhaven, and the thunderstorm warnings came on the radio. I smiled. Then I watched as bolt after bolt of lightning flashed across the sky in the distance. The stikes were quite far away.
Or so I thought.
Then, suddenly, as I was zipping along at 50 miles per hour, the most extraordinary thing happened. There was a bright flash of light, a sudden bang (much more than a clap or a boom -- this was deafening!) and my car seemed to lift up off the roadbed and slam back down about a foot to the right of where it had been a second earlier.
For a moment I felt as though both my brain and my heart had shut off. The shock (not electrical) of the moment was really quite astonishing. It took me, perhaps, two or three seconds to realize that my car had just been struck by lightning. Though the electrical shock had passed through the metal shell of the car and left me untouched, it was several minutes before my hands stopped trembling and my breathing and heartbeat returned to normal.
And now, I don't think I shall ever enjoy a thunderstorm in quite the same way again.
I was thinking, as I continued driving home, that we often think of sin in the same way that I think of thunderstorms. Sin entertains and amuses us. It fascinates us. We think that we can dabble in it, stay on the fringes of it, and remain untouched by it.
But sin is far too powerful for us to "dabble" in it. As frighteningly powerful as lightning is, sin is just as powerful, and just as deadly. Sin has a way of catching us off-guard when we least expect it, and striking a blow that can ruin our lives.
Numbers 32:23 says that eventually, sin will always catch up with you, and in one of his great debates with the Pharisees (John 8:34), Jesus said that whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.
Did you know that sin had such power?
For the most part, I suspect that most Christians don't have enough of a good and healthy fear of sin. When it comes to sin...don't dabble. Steer clear.