It was a dark and stormy night....
The only thing predictable about lightning is it's unpredictability. You shouldn't be afraid of lightning, as long as you are prepared. If there is a storm heading your way, disconnect the coax from your radios. You don't even need a close encounter with lightning to generate damaging static and surge. Blowing winds and dry conditions is all you need. A surge protector will help protect against this static.
I use to live in a rural area in Northern Arizona, near the Grand Canyon. Our altitude was about 5,300 feet ASL. I had a 5BTV that was mounted at the top of a 18' section of 2" iron pipe. That put the top at around 40'. The antenna worked well but one stormy day, I forgot to disconnect the coax from my radios. A nearby strike generated so much static that the 80 Meter resonator exploded into thousands of little tiny pieces, spread over about a 50' radius. The rest of the antenna survived, but the tuner that was connected to the end of the coax, was turned into scrap metal. There were a few extra holes in the case and everything inside was welded together. Luckily, the tuner saved my radio from damage.
Now that was just a nearby hit. I have also observed direct hits. Direct hits are difficult to watch without dark sunglasses or a welding mask. The fireball is very intense. I have seen a direct hit reduce a 50' tree to ashes, in minutes. If it hit an antenna, it would be total scrap metal.
As I said in the beginning, don't be afraid, be prepared.