“God is Almighty.” Those words seem abstract until we look at the giving of the Ten Commandments at Sinai. “Exodus tells us of the thunders and lightning of Mount Sinai when Moses went to the top of that mountain to receive Ten Commandments. If we read the story well we are startled by the lightning streaking across the sky before Moses and the people of Israel.
With lightning flying all around, the static energy in the air must have felt like a thousand needles jabbing at their flesh. They must have felt it as it poured through the pores. Their nervous systems are on edge as electricity passes through them.
They would have very much understood the words of St. John, “The wind blows where it wills and nobody knows from where it comes or to where it goes.”
Every thought must have been about the next lightning strike and how that strike could hit them. The next wind gust could push them into the nearest steep ravine and certain death.
We look back at the real experience of Sinai with the lightning and the thunder all around, and watching people as they are swallow alive, man, woman, and child, into the side of a mountain with fire spitting out of its top, smoke, as it descends toward them, and the charged particles of the air as it envelops them.
Remember the face of Moses as it transforms during the famous Forty Days: “Moses is there forty days and forty nights. As Moses descended from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the witness in his hand, he did not know that rays of light were of his face as he talked with him.” When we come face to face with God, it changes us and it changes the way we appear before other people.
God is Almighty. The Donner Summit, calls to mind the power of cold as it sends the shock of a thousand needles through us, just like the lightning of Sinai. To someone who has felt cold, the feeling is undeniable, no proof is necessary. To someone who has not felt cold, no proof is sufficient. One cannot fight cold. There is nothing to hit. The Donner Party found out that it kills.
We all remember Harry Truman, not just the show me president, but the man on Mt. St. Helens who would not believe what volcano’s can do until his volcano blew its top; then it was too late. People refuse to believe that when the tide goes out far more than usual, it is a bad sign, until it is too late and the Tsunami comes rushing in. To those who have not seen, no proof is sufficient. To those who have seen, no proof is required.
Soon after Columbus discovered America, explorers told of places where, to the north, all the trees blown down, pointed east. To the south, all the trees had blown down pointed west. No proof was sufficient to explain this. To those who have seen a hurricane, no proof is required. Those planning to wait out hurricanes have not seen one; no proof is sufficient as to their power. It is the same for Donner Summit. Try to fight the wind. There is nothing to hit. Deny its existence; join the Donner Party.
To a person who has never seen falling snow, the idea is silly, it falling to 20 plus feet, is more silly. Deny a blizzard, feel its wrath. It is the same with God. There is the Father, the cold, or the lightning of Sinai. There is the wind, The Spirit, present, full of power. There is the one who descends from the Father to join us and live with us, the Son. He also is all powerful, yet soft and gentle as the new falling snow.