Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In the storm clouds of life

     When I awoke this morning the sky was gray with clouds, no sun to be seen. How fitting that my reading this morning was about clouds. Without them we would have no shield from the burning sun. Without them we would have no rain for the thirsty earth. Without them we would have less spectacular sunsets and landscapes. Clouds serve a purpose even if sometimes they can make for a dreary day. I have often said that I have felt as if a dark cloud is hanging over me during stressful or difficult times in my life. Just as ominous dark clouds predict a physical storm in nature , we sometimes refer to our hardest struggles in this life as storms. No matter how dark the cloud, how raging the storm, God is in the middle of it all. God's word reminds us of this time after time.
   Genesis 9:12-16 And God said , " This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When ever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."
     Exodus 13:21, 22...When Moses led God's people out of Egypt. "By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left it's place in front of the people. In Exodus 19:9 And 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."In Exodus 19:16-19 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightening, 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.Mount Sinai was covered with smoke , because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up fro it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently , and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him." In Exodus 25:15, 16 "When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain and, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud."
     Just as clouds shield us from the searing heat of the sun, God's radiance is so blinding and magnificent that human eyes could not withstand his appearance, so God shielded Moses and his people by appearing in a cloud. He was present, guiding the every step of the way, just hidden from their sight by a cloud.
     The rainbow in the clouds of Genesis refers to a promise that God made to us . Another promise that he has made to us is that Jesus will come again. Struggles on this earth will someday cease . Matthew 24:30, 31 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven , with a loud command , with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that , we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."
        Friends, take comfort when clouds threaten to overtake you and overshadow your light with the knowledge that God is within them. Sometimes the clouds can be so dark and the storms of this life seem to rage so hard . God is there, he is guiding you through the storm, he is just having to hide himself until his glory is revealed.