“HE IT IS who displays before you the lightning, to give rise to (both) fear and hope, and calls heavy clouds into being; and the thunder extols His limitless glory and praises Him, and (so do) the angels, in awe of Him; and He (it is who) lets loose the thunderbolts and strikes with them whom He wills. And yet, they stubbornly argue about God, notwithstanding (all evidence) that He alone has the power to contrive whatever His unfathomable wisdom wills!” ~al-Qur’an, Surah Ar-Ra’d, [13:12-13]
“And among His wonders is this: He displays before you the lightning, giving rise to (both) fear and hope, and sends down water from the skies, giving life thereby to the earth after it had been lifeless: in this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who use their reason!” ~al-Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rum, [30:24]
I watched it all transpire from inside a household blessed of a family friend, a household no doubt blessed by Allah. Darkened clouds beset the heavens, bringing with them torrents, winds, wails of colliding clouds, and, of course, lightning, which, in my humble opinion, is one Allah’s most brilliant harbingers. The light show was better than any Independence Day celebration, and the trees performed with the winds, giving way to their caprices, swaying this way and that way, almost as if the two were performing an erratic salsa or samba dance routine. Seeing such magnificent displays of power and seeing the trees, those massive creations, bend and contort with such ease was a blessing, a truly marvelous sight to behold…and a frightening one.
And speaking of fear, I should say I used to be deathly afraid of storms as a kid. The flashing lights and thunderbolts shocked me into a feeble paralysis. Whenever I went to my mother out of sheer fright, she would always tell me the same thing. “Sit down, be quiet, and be still,” she would say, “and let the Lord do His business.”
Last night, I did as she instructed, for mothers know best. I sat down, sipped some chai tea with lactose-free cream (I’m so lactose intolerant), and watched as Allah displayed the signs of His omnipotence. I basked in the majesty of it all, a little peon of dust and blood in the presence of greater forces. It lasted only an hour or so, but an hour was all it took to draw both inspiration and apprehension.
Today, the sky is crystalline, cloudless, and azure, as true a blue as can be. How wonderful is it that such dark and stormy nights can yield sunny and vivacious days. How wonderful is it that tempestuous nights precede the most beautiful days.
Subhan’Allah, God showed me lightning, for fear and hope, as a mighty parable: endure the tumultuous nights with patience, awe, and trembling but know brighter days are on the horizon. Where there’s a flower, there’s both the rain and the sun, definitely a sign for those humble enough to take heed.