Lessons in the Clouds

Remember as a child, or perhaps even presently, the game of discovering pictures or figures in the clouds? Saturday evening I was driving to church with the children and beheld the most magnificent skyline full of puffy, white clouds.

When you think of clouds you might contemplate the beautiful sight to behold in the sky, or their part in rain and photosynthesis, but have you ever looked at the clouds and thought of God? 

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On Saturday, one cloud-scape in particular caught my attention. I imagined that it looked like God in his chariot of horses riding on the clouds.

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.~Psalm 103:3-4 (emphasis mine)

The Bible has many references to God and clouds. Take for example that God traveled before the Israelites by day in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire to guide them (Exodus 13:21); He again showed Israel His glory in a cloud over the desert (Exodus 16:10).  God spoke to Moses and showed him His glory from within a cloud (Exodus 24:15-16). God told Moses that He appeared in a cloud over the atonement cover (Leviticus:1-2).  God spoke to Peter, John, and James after they witnessed the transfiguration through a cloud (Luke 9:34-35).

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. ~Revelation 1:7

There are more accounts in scripture associating clouds with God, but these six examples are enough to confirm that the association holds merit.

Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest, assuaged that:

The clouds are a sign that He is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow and bereavement and suffering are the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near without clouds, He does not come in clear shining. It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials: Through every cloud He brings, He wants us to unlearn something.  His purpose in the cloud is to simplify our belief until our relationship to Him is exactly that of a child-God and my own soul, other people are shadows.” (July 29th entry)

Within the last year, I have witnessed so much death…unexpected death. There are clouds of sorrow that have loomed over my soul and even more strongly over those that I know and love.

I have contemplated how the evil in life is more real with every passing year. For children, the worries of this world are primarily unrecognized. Yes, they see and hear and worry, but not on a level of adult understanding. God does not want us to worry. In fact, worry is a sin that we should avoid. Rather, God would have us come like a child to their daddy and say, “Father, this has happened and I am so very sad…scared…doubtful…please help me.”

I believe the above is what Oswald Chambers and Jesus himself meant when they said we must approach God with the faith of a child. Our reasoning and wisdom increase with age, however we must revert to the child-like trust in the One who is greater than all to see us through and teach us the lessons in the dark or the fluffy clouds of life.

It has been said that “in every cloud there is a silver lining.”  Perhaps it would be better to say that in every cloud is God’s refining.  When we take a walk through the clouds it is for our sanctification and purification in Christ to ultimately bring us into greater communion with Him.  I am certain that my present clouds are teaching me more of God and my great need for Him.  What is your walk through the clouds teaching you?

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.~ Psalm 19:1-3

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