What makes you tremble?

via Tremble

When your North Face jacket doesn’t even begin to cut the cold north winds, chilling your whole body to the bone?  The soundtrack to Psycho, with Norman Bates in the shower scene?  When every opinion spewed on FaceBook makes you want to lash out in your own version of “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore“?  When the overwhelming sense of loss you experience because the person closest to you in this world dies leaves you feeling dead?  When you top the crest of the highest rollercoaster you’ve ever been on, and you’re stomach drops out your toes?  When the earth moves under your feet, literally, and the tremors just keep coming?  When you watch your child being born?  The swell of the orchestra in your favorite opera?  That first kiss?  When you continually become aware of the Creator through the unbelievable complexity of the earth we inhabit?  A sunset, a flower, the crashing of waves, the millions of species, gravity, air, water, sunshine?

All these and a million-zillion other experiences can elicit a physical response: the tremble.  I wonder why God wired us this way?  My personal belief is perhaps God desired that we not miss anything.  The emotional, psychological, and physical aspects of human life are supposed to be so intertwined, one cannot exist without the others. Just because people don’t cry the same, doesn’t mean they don’t all feel like trembling.  Likewise, just because we all don’t tremble at the same things, doesn’t mean we don’t all feel like crying.  God wired us to tremble, but all in different ways, according to what touches us.  This knowledge alone should make everyone tremble.

Psalm 99:1
The LORD reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!

Joel 2:1
Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; surely it is near.

I have often had a particular sensation when teaching or preaching; an awareness of something larger than me, not controlled by me.  In those moments my wiring, my DNA, my genetically programmed response, was to smile or laugh momentarily as I trembled on the inside.  This is what some would call a “nervous” response.  It was often misinterpreted by my listeners to think I was making fun of my topic, when in fact it was an unsolicited and totally uncontrollable response to what God was saying to me, and through me at the moment.  I trembled a lot during those times.

I love music of all kinds, and I have sung in choirs, as well as solos in contests and church.  Not one single time did I stand to sing, in any of those environments, when I wasn’t trembling inside.  In the middle of some song, I would become so involved in the words and the sounds coming from all around me, that I would begin to feel my legs go all wobbly, my breathing would change, my heart would pound,  my throat would constrict, and I could not speak or sing another note.

When I read the Word of God, I am often moved to tears, completely overwhelmed by the power of His love and grace. In those moments of communion with my Creator, I feel like David, the Psalmist, and my feelings are recorded like this:

Psalm 2:11
Worship the LORD with reverence, and rejoice with trembling.