What to tell your children about thunder

Posted on April 8, 2016 · Posted in Parenting, Worldview


Lightning rips through the air followed by the violent crash of thunder. At that moment everything stops. Your heart pounds. Whatever you were thinking about is gone, replaced by fear, awe, terror, and a sense of smallness. The sound is of unrestrained energy.

Or perhaps you are fortunate enough to hear the rolling thunder as a storm approaches through a mountain valley. Deep rumbles echo back and forth between the mountains. Astounding power, muted, yet ominous.

There is the fascination of watching a storm drift out to sea. As the thunder becomes distant, lightning criss-crosses the evening sky in a brilliant light show. Only now does the thunder appear safe as the sounds and lights fade into darkness.

What about thunder? Where does it come from? What can you teach your children about thunder?

In addition to what you learn from the meteorologist, the Holy Spirit has some answers for you:

“My heart pounds as I think of this.
It trembles within me.
Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice
as it rolls from his mouth.
It rolls across the heavens,
and his lightning flashes in every direction.
Then comes the roaring of the thunder—
the tremendous voice of his majesty.
He does not restrain it when he speaks.
God’s voice is glorious in the thunder.
We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power.
Job 37:1-5

When your children have questions about God’s power, remind them of thunder. This passage says we are to understand thunder as the majestic voice of God. Thunder displays God’s power. That power can be terrifying. It tells us that God is not to be trifled with. In the first volume of the Chronicles of Narnia, Lucy asks Mrs. Beaver about the great lion, Aslan.

“Is he safe?”
“No, he is not safe. But he is good.”

Thunder gives the same message. God is holy and good, but he is anything but safe. But we know, because of Christ, he can be trusted. Thunder provides a tangible way to talk about the majesty of God to your children.

Thunder is like life. It is unpredictable, terrifying at times, and beyond our control. There are times when thunder brings tragic results. But because you know the thunder is from God and speaks his voice you also know that all things work together for our good and God’s glory.

Use thunder as an opportunity for the gospel. God’s grace is greater than our sin. Sin can bring the terrible wrath of God. But, because of Christ, even then we can know hope. Thunder speaks of the mighty power of God that saves us from sin and raised Jesus to life again. A thunderstorm is a good time to pray, to seek the face of God for you and your children.

The voice of God is glorious in thunder!

Shepherding a Child's Heart DVD 2014

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.