Last week, as I was leaving an evening event, lightning streaked across the sky and revealed ominously dark rain clouds hanging perilously close to the earth. The lightning was particularly spectacular and frequent that evening. As many of us hurried to our cars, I noticed we instinctively ducked with each flash of lightning, as though making ourselves smaller would somehow save us from a lightning strike. Only days before an area boy died due to lightning, yet here we were, running to our cars to beat the storm. Laughter bubbled up from inside as I slid into my car seat and closed the door, the nervous laughter of “what was I thinking?”
Every day, we do the spiritual equivalent of running through lightning. We ‘duck’ from God as we do things that separate us from him and others, as though the sins we commit could somehow be hidden from him if we only make ourselves very small. We convince ourselves that these things we do aren’t really that bad, that no one knows what we’re doing or worse, that no one gets hurt. But, anytime we behave in ways that are contrary to Christ’s teachings, we are harming someone, often ourselves or the ones we love most. The impulse to duck, though, might just be the key to stopping those behaviors. Just as we instinctively duck the lightning, knowing how much it could harm us, if we listen to our ‘duck impulse’ spiritually, we know exactly when we’ve taken a wrong turn. A course correction in the moment we feel that impulse makes all the difference. As Jesus told us in John 14:26, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” Sometimes those reminders come as impulses to duck!