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 The Secret Place Of Thunder

There are several spiritual issues that I struggle with on an almost daily basis. I strain against criticism; rebel against bossiness, and want to control things in my life. (Our traits are not always reasonable!)

I found a Bible verse today that never meant much to me before. God used it to plant an understanding in my heart.

* Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder. Psa 81:7

This probably has meant many things to many people. To me it means the annoyances I feel, that I try not to let anyone else know. We don't purposely broadcast the secret places of thunder in our characters. But no matter how we try to hide them, they will show themselves to others, just when we don't want them to. I am ashamed by mine.

I tend to be too defensive. Just recently I have been thinking that there must be a reason why God allows me to be accused of things I did not do. I've been working on my attitude. It took me a long time to figure out what it was about myself that insists on proving my innocence when I am innocent of an accusation, no matter how small! Is it pride? Who am I trying to impress? If my husband thinks I wrote a note wrong, why does it matter? If he thinks I forgot to do something, and I did do it, why do I try to insist that he believe me? Well, I guess it is pride. I never thought I was proud. I am humble. (What? Am I proud of being humble?!) I must be proud too, if it ruffles my feathers so much to be thought in the wrong. It took me fifty-two years to comprehend to my great disappointment, that I could be both humble and proud.

So I began to work on that. When I feel huffy inside at tiny things, I stop and remind myself that this might be a lesson from God. If I just get defensive, I might be missing His point altogether. Then, I turn to God, and tell Him I want to know how I can change my attitude, so that I am not irritated. I want to keep my spirit open to my Heavenly Father's teaching.

I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill, inside. Even if no one else knows, it is poison to my spirit. God does allow troubles in this world of sin. Just as God created us with tender feet, and put us in a land with rocks in it; so did He create us with tender feelings, and allow us to live with other humans, who have faults just like we do. Our old natures are easily aroused by irritation. My mother used to call this "the old man" in us. It is in our human natures to complain.

* Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise. Psa 55:2

* I will not refrain my mouth ... I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Job 7:11a,c

But how many times we contribute to our own troubles! The Bible is very clear, on the futility of self-defeating faults such as nit-picking, needless fault finding, and starting arguments. I can remember doing all three.

* He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind. Prov. 11:29

* How wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Mat 7:4,5

* I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart 1Sa 17:28b

I want my spirit and life to be a delight to the Lord. I read in a commentary, that nothing is more pleasing to God than sincerity and plain-dealing, acting with integrity, speaking with simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom. I think that fleshly wisdom must be a prideful feeling of knowing something. The unwillingness to back down to someone else's opinion.

* For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. Psa 27:5

Most of my life, I have prayed for God to remove my troubles. Now I ask God to use these things to help me improve my own inner character.

* I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities. Psa 31:7

God does indeed know my soul. He knows how I handle adversities. He knows my every weakness. Sometimes His way of hiding me in His pavilion, is to help me keep my mouth shut. In irritated protests, I can learn nothing. But in the silence of my heart, God can work with me.

* God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psa 46:1b In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Psa 86:7

In this petulant area of my character, God's replies to me often concerning my own complaining spirit. The help I need in small areas, is not necessarily to lose my problems, but to improve my own attitude. I pray that my secret place of thunder will continue to grow smaller, as long as I live.

2004 Rosemary Gwaltney

Lord, search my soul, try every thought;
Though my own heart accuse me not
Of walking in a false disguise,
I beg the trial of thine eyes.

Doth secret mischief lurk within?
Do I indulge some unknown sin?
O turn my feet whene'er I stray,
And lead me in thy perfect way.

Watts, Isaac (1674-1748)