Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Clouds

A dark cloud has settled in over Northern California this week. I hear the hard drips of water pouring off of our roof. It is 6:30 in the morning, without any real sign of sunrise in sight. It is dark. And wet. And I am very thankful for a good roof over my head, a working furnace, and a little bit of my husband’s morning coffee in my cup.
We here in California have experienced a massive drought over the last few years. The lakes and reservoirs have hit levels that are hard to believe for this Midwest girl. We’ve been taking shorter showers, cutting way back on watering our lawns, and trying to use every drop of water for a purpose before letting it get down the drain.
So this rain is beautiful. This cloud is lovely. It is heaven-sent, and I humbly give thanks and worship our Creator Sustainer for it.

But so often, in daily life, I want the dark clouds to go away. His judgement is clouded... She’s been walking around in a dark cloud for weeks... There’s a cloud hovering over this place. 
My husband and I had just said some of these exact things to each other this week. And we desired for those dark clouds we saw to go away.
And then I opened my Bible, and the Lord opened my eyes.
I was reading in bed, starting to doze off for the night, when these words jumped off the page at me:
“When the priest withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priest could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple. 
Then Solomon said, ‘The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud.’” (1 Kings 8:10-12)
The Lord is IN a dark cloud!?! So often I try to limit him to the light, to the joy, to the rejoicing. But he is much greater than these things. He is also in the dark clouds. He is working in the hard. He is active through the difficult. From the very beginning…
“The earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)
And again…
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way.” (Exodus 13:21)
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.’ … On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.” (Exodus 19:9, 16-17)
As was the case in Moses’s time, most people were terrified of the dark cloud. They didn’t want to go near to it.
But that’s where God was!
Oh, how often am I terrified of the dark clouds in my life? How often am I captivated by the desire to have happy, sunshiny days every day? But day after day of sunshine brings a terrible drought. 
The dark clouds are good. God is there! The Lord is in the dark clouds of our lives. He is there in the hardest moments of parenting. He is there on days when we cannot seem to connect with our spouse. He is there when we feel as though we have been failing at our job. He is there. And his power is sometimes most evident in the cloud—so much so that it makes us sit back and tremble at his might, and at our frailty.

And if we are humble to open our eyes to his work, his dark cloud is refreshing as pouring rain to a drought-ridden land.

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